Michigan State Basketball: Back to the Future

Michigan State Basketball: Back to the Future


2022-2023 season b Michigan State As the men’s basketball program and Class of 2023 begins to take shape, the excitement of recent commitments Xavier Booker And Gehrig Normand (World Health Organization Join Jeremy Fear Jr.), MSU fans can sketch on paper what the 2023-2024 season will look like, at least temporarily.

I’m higher on the Spartans this season than most fans seem to be Be sure to read part two of my post next preseason top-60, where I look at MSU nationally — and while the final recruit or two for the 2023 class may not be in full swing yet, I believe there’s something program watchers can confidently predict as they look ahead to next summer.

Graduation and Origins:

Of the seniors this season — Tyson Walker, Malik Hall and Joey Hauser — I expect none of them to return to next season’s team. All three guys will be “old” and will likely show pro scouts all they can show at the college level. That’s my read for now, but we’ll see.

It also seems doubtful that any other form will emerge: Maddy Sissoko, Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper should comfortably move forward in the center position, and AJ Hoggard, Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks and Tre Holloman are all very compatible players. On their own, that team of seven will be highly competitive in the Big Ten Conference, albeit with a few turnover increases on the play-by-play fringes.

The only major early upside threat could be Akins, but he hasn’t started generating NBA interest, and he’ll need to generate a ton to really stay in the draft. But after the upcoming season, he should at least find himself able to get his name into the draft process in order to get feedback from NBA teams.

A bigger jump than Akins could happen. next to Summer (and into next season as a junior) – just as the coaching staff expects big wins from Hoggard and Sissoko next season. I’ve always felt that, contrary to popular belief, the greatest jump players experience at both the high school and college level is between their sophomore and junior seasons, and every year seems to add more evidence.

Returning depth chart for 2023-2024:

To ensure there is no shift in the playing position for returners, the return depth chart looks like this.

1 – Hoggard (Senior)
2 – Akins (Jr.), Holloman (So.)
3 – Brooks (Jr.)
4 –
5 – Kohler (So.), Sissoko (Sr.), Cooper (So.)

In the same way that Kohler won’t be converted to the power forward position due to his lack of foot speed, Spartans fans shouldn’t expect Pierre Brooks to be converted to the position either. There is no evidence that Brooks is capable of consistently defending big players or that he can recover enough to play that role.

Holloman should play a fair amount at both point guard and guard, and I expect him to prove more than capable of playing both roles at Michigan State. Although he’s a different player, physically, someone like Charlie Bell comes to mind as he can seamlessly slide between guard roles and play as a secondary point guard on the court (returning to a style I’ve looked at in previous posts). ). Ultimately, expect Hoggard to have a dominant season and enter the 2023-2024 season with, at the very least, Big Ten Player of the Year aspirations.

Again, with only modest improvements to the roster from this “starting point,” this team will still be in contention for a Big Ten title and look to reach the Final Four, but that’s where Tom Aizzo and the Michigan State fan base finds itself; Far from it…

Class of 2023, as applicable:

Xavier Booker (PF, 6’10”, 210 lbs, 7’4″ wingspan): Booker headlines the class alongside Fear (below) and stands head and shoulders above the rest of the roster in terms of NBA potential. Booker is long, lean, agile, has impressive hands and timing, a strong shot from the free-throw line and three-point range, a comfortable spot in the post and lateral agility that helps him move his feet. – Ball on the perimeter and in the post, which will help him avoid the footwork-related errors that plagued Jeron Jackson Jr.’s lone season in East Lansing. Booker may not be the player Jackson was. In person And given his strength and weight, he has better foot control and should be able to play more minutes per game because of a lower offense.

In terms of physical comparisons, Anthony Davis (as a freshman at Kentucky) is a better comparison than Jackson, who as a freshman, weighed about 240 pounds. Davis, from Kentucky, was 6-foot-10, had a 7-foot-5.5-inch wingspan and weighed 220 pounds. By the time Booker arrives in East Lansing, he should weigh about 220 pounds. A recent comparison is Evan Mobley, who as a freshman at USC stands nearly 7 feet tall, has a 7-foot-4-inch wingspan and weighs 215 pounds. this is. Kind of Booker is a physical presence that should live in the imagination of MSU fans.

Booker will enjoy offense with all three of these players, given their actual play and ability. Booker handles the ball the same way Mobley and Davis did in high school, has a nice jump shot that gets into three-point range similar to Jackson’s, and defensively destroys the ball and covers the floor — all physical tools he has. To be a great defender.

At times, however, Booker can be slow or “behind” the game in his off-ball defense (he may take poor angles due to not properly aligning his hips or literally stepping out of position or sliding). (He has a wrong step or steps wrong foot first) and this can easily make him not understand the ball properly. Sometimes, he may be too high at the waist, or not wide enough to move properly on the ball with someone at his feet.

But with Booker as a top prospect on defense and a fast-growing player on and off the ball, Michigan State’s (perhaps only) season — he’ll need footwork and hip work reps in a refined system. Detailed instruction (maybe Draymond Green or Xavier Tillman could stop by East Lansing next winter to work with him for a couple of weeks?)

I don’t think Booker is at the level of hope of these three. right nowBy the time he arrived in East Lansing, Jackson-Mobley may have reached a point where he was the best perimeter shooter of the three. If you don’t believe me, watch:

Anthony Davis:

Evan Mobley:

Years Jackson Jr.:

Xavier Booker

Jeremy Fear (PG, 6’0″, 180 pounds): Fears is actually a co-headliner with Booker for his leadership, tenacity and recruiting efforts. Before even arriving on campus, Fears has certainly shown why by surpassing the Spartans legend in his efforts to benefit the program. As a player, Fear has already grown into a mattress floor general. His terrific handle allows him to get where he needs to go, Fears’ passing vision and skill allows him to control defenses and make accurate passes down the court, and his strength on the defense and on the glass will have him in Izzo’s good graces ahead of him. They support the green and white.

Fears’ biggest need for improvement is his jump. While his free-throw stroke (and percentage) and mid-range touch and finishing touch are excellent (which is important because these are key indicators of long-term shooting improvement), Fears refuses to shoot from the mid-range. times, and he has not yet developed confidence in his three-point shot – as you can see below, even when the ball goes in, he lacks momentum and proper energy transfer in the shot.

Improving on these important shooting metrics will elevate him to five-star status, and give him a legitimate shot at the NBA despite his small stature. But for now, count him among the Spartans’ blessings as a recruiter, leader, unifying force and future star college basketball player.

Jeremy Fear Jr.

Gehrig Normand (SF, 6’5″, 180 pounds): The Normand-Matt McQuaid comparison is natural, both wings at 6-foot-5, both capable shooters, both strong athletes as high school players and both competitive dudes who were somewhat favored by the Hurricanes in Michigan State. Normand should bring much of what McQuaid brought to East Lansing, but to be clear, they are. Different Players.

Physically, Normand is a little longer in the wingspan, a little taller vertically and more stocky than McQuaid was as a high school senior. Normand also has a different offensive game: McQuaid was always an off-ball operator in high school (though he He did Play More In high school ball at MSU), Normand is very comfortable playing the ball with his hands.

Normand’s highly developed and confident style allows him to attack tight spaces, play off pick and roll and even attack some matchups in isolation. Shooting off the dribble opens up the driving game and passing. Moreover, his amazing athleticism and his Desire to attack the edge As the defender cuts off corner-three catch-and-shoot opportunities and even takes lay-back routes and ends up connecting all the way to half-court, it results in a lot of lay-ups. He’s not a Jason Richardson-level athlete, but this kid can attack and finish with creative positioning and power on one-handed and two-handed routes.

One final point on Normand’s offensive game — his shooting, in particular — was that while McQuaid had a good career at Michigan State, his shooting as a high school player (McQuaid would roll his wrist into his shooting motion) became even more so. He was told during his collegiate career. This hurdle explains why he has experienced secondary declines, why he sometimes struggles against better competition, and why he has never been an off-the-dribble shooter (off-the-dribble): this type of hurdle slows down a shooter’s release and demands precision. Timing (no “time or space” for re-calibration or adjustments mid-shot) – These issues can cause shooters to become “gun-shy” or simply run from the three-point line.

The Normand Shot is much smoother in the wrist and hand action, and this obviously translates to a faster release, more comfort and shot adjustment, and a much higher capacity and comfort to double-shoot.

While Normand’s offense was higher than McQuaid’s, McQuaid’s defense was actually better than Normand’s. Normand’s individual defense will be a major focus of the Spartans’ coaching staff as they work with him throughout the season to prepare him for college basketball.

Gehrig Normand:

Full depth chart

Adding this trio of underclassmen to the return group yields a depth chart projection something along these lines:

1 – Hoggard (Sr.), Fears (Sr.)
2 – Akins (Jr.), Holloman (So.)
3 – Brooks (Jr.), Normand (Sr.)
4 – Booker (Sr.), __________
5 – Kohler (So.), Sissoko (Sr.), Cooper (So.)

This 10-man team should compete for nationals and will certainly enter the season in the top-10, if not the top-five. Hoggard, Fear, Akins and Holloman form one of the best guard rotations in the nation. Meanwhile, Brooks and Normand as the “fourth or fifth options” usually have to provide good floor space and space in the court, and the front-court is already full of talent, size, and results. and defensive ability.

All it needs is a spot for a hybrid (with Alan Anderson, Raymar Morgan, Brandon Dawson and Malik Hall): a 6-foot-6 to 6-foot-8 man with speed, strength and athleticism that allows the coaching staff to switch between big and small lineups comfortably. And to slide between the wing-spots and ensure there is no defensive collapse when Booker takes a break.

Final Recruitment Target:

In my mind, Koen Carr, who recently made an official visit to East Lansing, will fill that role Perfect. Carr is 6-feet-seven inches tall, weighs about 215 pounds, has long arms; High-level NBA athlete, He likes to play defense, an excellent transition player, a great open court passer and a solid “time and room” shooter from three point range. The staff couldn’t have picked a better target for their final player to join the division.

I first saw Carr play about 14 months ago and was instantly enthralled, but given the venue in Greenville, South Carolina, I assumed the crew would never get on with it. I’m not yet clear on when Izzo first reached out to Carr, but there is clearly a significant mutual interest.

This young man is a perfect fit for MSU emotionally, mentally, physically, athletically, and how he fits on the roster and in the recruiting department. Considering the possibility that Booker will go straight to the NBA after the 2023-2024 season and Carr may not be ready to turn pro after the 2023-2024 season. Return to the original and starring role as the secondary.

Carr will announce his decision on August 9. Many predictions Favor Michigan State.

In that case, assuming Booker doesn’t return, the depth chart could take this form for 2024-2025:

1 – fear (so)
2 – Akins (Sr.), Holloman (Jr.)
3 – Brooks (Sr.), Normand (So.)
4 – Carr (So.)_____________
5 – Kohler (Jr.), Cooper (Jr.)

This team, assuming Akins returns for a senior season, will contend for a national title again, and will certainly be a favorite in the Big Ten.

For now, on to the exciting season ahead, here’s a look at the 2023-2024 flagships and some amazing Coencar highlights.



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