Michigan State basketball


It’s OK to trust Tom Izzo’s unorthodox scholarship usage plan

Tom Izzo has decided to move forward with three open scholarships in an unorthodox move. It’s OK to trust his crazy plan.

It was fitting that the theme of Michigan State’s 2022 Midnight Madness was ‘Stranger Things’ because what Tom Izzo has done with his roster has been, well, strange.

After a disappointing finish to the 2021-22 season, Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham Jr., Max Christie, and Julius Marble all moved on. The first two graduated, Christie decided to go to the NBA early, and Marble transferred to Texas A&M. It was a wild offseason and it seemingly required some roster additions by Izzo.

Instead, he stuck to his guns and moved forward with his incoming freshman class being the only additions to a roster that suffered a ton of attrition.

Everyone was asking for Izzo to add a big man because that had been a weakness in 2021-22 and it only got weaker in the offseason. Instead, he decided to place his trust in an unproven junior (Mady Sissoko) and two incoming freshmen (Carson Cooper and Jaxon Kohler).

It was a questionable move.

But he’s the Hall of Famer.

So instead of utilizing the transfer portal, Izzo decided to keep three open spots on his roster with 10 scholarship players and four walk-ons. Was this a crazy move? Probably. But this decision made more sense when he opened up about it. He stated that it’s tough to keep 13 scholarship guys all happy at the same time and he’s not wrong. If he had 13 guys, he’d likely lose at least 1-2 to offseason transfers.

Why not avoid that altogether and move ahead with 10 guys who will all contribute?

Heck, Izzo sticks to an 8-10 man rotation on any given year and always talks about trimming his playing rotation, so he won’t have to worry about that this season.

With the playing rotation already set, the only concern would have to be injuries. Everyone will be content with playing time and as long as they stay healthy, it should work.

Talent is not an issue for this team. Depth may be.

Michigan State has one of the better backcourts in the country and a decent wing rotation. The post is thin, but there is potential with Sissoko, Cooper, and Kohler.

This isn’t the ideal scholarship plan, but it may actually work out for the Spartans. Everyone stays happy with their playing time, the rotation stays tight, and the guys gel quicker on the court together.

It’s OK to trust the Hall of Fame head coach and his mad scientist plan.

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