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Michigan State Basketball: Reflecting on the 2022-23 season

Let’s look back at the year that was.



Michigan State basketball
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With the season now at an end, it’s time to look back on everything the 2022-23 edition of Michigan State basketball accomplished.

The 2022-23 Michigan State basketball season has come to an end, and what a ride it was. Between the injuries and the heartbreaking losses on and off the court, and some truly inspiring performances and shocking victories, it was one heck of a ride.

Let’s reflect on the up-and-down year that ended in the Sweet 16.

The Good: Seniors

As I mentioned in a previous article, our seniors carried us all year, and they gave us some memorable performances. From Joey Hauser’s six 3-pointer games against Nebraska and Ohio State to Tyson Walker’s 30-plus point performances against Iowa and Purdue and Malik Hall’s electric 20-point game against Kentucky in the Champions Classic, all three of them have played their best basketball this year, and I am forever thankful for that.

Even Jason Whitens put in some good minutes early in the season when Hall and Akins went down with injuries.

In a rocky and unpredictable season, the seniors kept Michigan State afloat and gave the program direction, at times single-handedly winning us games and keeping seemingly fleeting tourney hopes alive. They were very much a bright spot this year, and I am going to miss them dearly (assuming none of them decide to come back, of course).

The Good: The Izzone

Growing up, I had always been told about how the Izzone was one of the greatest — if not the greatest — student sections in the country. I believed it, and from what I saw on TV, I had no reason not to. Now, having a year as an Izzone member under my belt, I can say that statement with certainty: we are the best student section in the country.

Obviously I’m biased, but I truly believe it.

Even being in the upper bowl most of the year, I could tell that everyone was invested in the game and had seemingly unlimited energy. In my few games where I was lucky enough to sit in the lower bowl, this became even more apparent. I never left the Breslin Center without first losing my voice cheering on our team. The Izzone is more than just a bunch of college kids who like to watch basketball; it’s a community of Michigan State Spartans who love to spend time together and cheer on not only their basketball team, but their classmates and friends.

Nowhere was this more apparent then in our game against Indiana, just a week after the tragedy that occurred on campus. From the moment I walked into the Breslin that night, I could tell the energy was different. That night, and every night since then, we have been more than a student section; we’ve been a family who will always be there for each other and will come together in the face of even the mightiest adversity.

I can’t wait to come back next year and cheer on our Spartans for another season.

The Good: The NCAA Tournament

All things considered, I would consider Michigan State’s 2022-23 NCAA Tournament run a success.

Coming into the season, nobody really expected too much from this team. After the last two years consisted largely of disappointment, most of us looked at this as a year to “stay afloat” and give us some momentum going into next year with our incredible recruiting class coming in. If you had told me preseason that this team would make the Sweet 16 and lose in overtime to a team with a historic point guard performance, I would have been mildly content, and that’s about where I am right now.

The boys played their hearts out in March, which is about all I can ask for, and in the end they fell just short against Kansas State, but that showing was certainly nothing to hang their heads on.

(Side note: Before the tournament, I released an article predicting a Sweet 16 loss to Kansas State. Am I psychic? We may never know.)

The Bad: Consistency

Never in my life have I seen a team more wildly inconsistent than this year’s Spartans. One day, we’re beating then-top-five Kentucky on the national stage, the next we’re losing by 20 to Notre Dame on a Wednesday night.

The incredible highs and horrendous lows made this season a rough one on my heart, but I at least can say I kept my eyes glued to the screen every game.

They finally seemed to hit their stride come tournament time (as Tom Izzo’s teams always seem to do), and I have faith that they can keep that consistency rolling into next season.

The Ugly: It’s over

There’s nothing that I would say was truly ugly about this season. The only thing that I can really be upset about is that it’s over. As crazy as this season has been, this team fought with each other, fought for each other, and fought for all of us Spartans, both current and past, and they should be mightily proud of all they accomplished this year.


Writer says there’s a huge gap between Purdue and Michigan State basketball

This seems like a wild claim.



Michigan State basketball
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Gregg Doyel of the Indy Star claims that Purdue is “historically loaded” and there’s a huge gap between them and Michigan State basketball.

With the news of Jaden Akins and AJ Hoggard returning along with Tyson Walker and Malik Hall to go along with the No. 4 recruiting class in the country, Michigan State basketball went from a conference title contender to a national title contender.

Essentially everyone who follows college basketball has Michigan State as a top-five team and right there in the Big Ten as 1B to Purdue’s 1A — some even have it the other way around.

The Spartans bring back everyone but Joey Hauser to a team that went to the Sweet 16 and Purdue returns national player of the year Zach Edey to a Big Ten title team. Both teams are loaded and should be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to national title contention.

But one Indy Star writer believes that Purdue is “historically loaded” and the talent-and-depth gap between the Boilermakers and “everyone else” is as large as he’s seen in years. Just a wild claim.

Gregg Doyel cites a solid incoming class to go along with Edey returning and the two freshmen guards with another year in the system. But he fails to recognize that Michigan State got even better. The Spartans are bringing in an even better recruiting class and they return their 2-3 most talented players from a year ago. The only loss is Hauser.

Saying that this year’s Purdue team is far-and-away the most talented and deepest team in the Big Ten and the gap is the biggest it’s been in years is asinine. There was a much larger gap last year.

Michigan State will go toe-to-toe with the Boilermakers and as long as Edey can be neutralized, the Spartans will have a chance to take them down for the Big Ten crown.

It’s tough to say a team like Michigan State basketball that’s 11-12 guys deep is not nearly as talented or deep as Purdue, but hey, let’s put that early chip on the shoulder.

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Michigan State Basketball: Allocating guard minutes for 2023-24

A lot of guards, not a lot of minutes to be had.



Michigan State basketball
© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball has an absolutely loaded backcourt heading into 2023-24. Let’s allocate the guard minutes.

Michigan State basketball has a loaded backcourt with the news of AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins returning next season. Add this on top of Tyson Walker coming back and Michigan State adding a four-star point guard in Jeremy Fears just loads up this back court even more.

Let’s take a look at what the minute allocation could look like between the five guards on the roster.


The starting point guard is clearly set into place with AJ Hoggard starting 33 of 34 games last year. Next year’s team still goes as Hoggard goes and he will most likely average 28-30 minutes per game. AJ being able to defend multiple positions allows him to play alongside any of the other three guards on the roster next year. He should average around 15 points per game and six-plus assists. Him being able to increase his 3-point percentage up to 35 percent next year should help his scoring dramatically.

The starting shooting guard is Walker who started in all 34 games last season and nothing will change this season. This team is going to rely plenty on Tyson to begin the season as this team continues to mesh with all of the different lineups. He played almost 34 minutes per game this season due to injuries and necessity. Tyson will take a step back and only play 30-32 minutes this upcoming season. He will look to average 16-plus points per game and 2.5-plus assists.


This may come as a surprise, but I believe the backup point guard role will fall to Tre Holloman. He has a year under the belt with the system and should take a step forward in his role. He is able to defend either guard position allowing him to play with any of the other four guards on the team. Holloman will play anywhere between 8-12 minutes per game and will look to be in a more featured role running the backup offense. Tre should average 3-5 points per game and 1.5 assists.

Jeremy Fears will fill in and be able to learn from a loaded backcourt while playing 6-8 minutes per game which could be pushed to 8-10 by the end of the season. Fears defense should rival what Walker brings to this team with this second group. Fears offensive role will look like Tre’s freshman year and not looked upon much offensively. He should look to average 1.5-plus points and one assist per game.

Finally, Jaden Akins will fill in anywhere from 2-5 minutes at the two-guard spot. He can help fill an offensive role when Tyson is out of the game and can handle some of the pick and roll duties in this spot. Akins will mostly play on the wing as he started 25 games there last season. He is a guard, but he’ll be forced into playing on the wing.

Minutes Summary

  • AJ Hoggard: 28-30 per game
  • Tyson Walker: 30-32 per game
  • Tre Holloman: 8-12 per game
  • Jeremy Fears: 6-8 per game
  • Jaden Akins: 2-5 per game

Akins did tweet this out the other day:

So he could see more ball-handling duties.

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Jeremy Fears makes final cut for U19 USA Basketball team

Jeremy Fears could represent USA Basketball again.



Jeremy Fears
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Incoming Michigan State freshman Jeremy Fears has made the final cut for the U19 USA Basketball team.

Incoming Michigan State basketball freshman Jeremy Fears is hard at work this summer. He is currently in the process of trying to make the final roster for the U19 USA Basketball team. Thirty-five athletes have been selected to participate in their upcoming training camp, and Fears is included on that list.

Training camp for these 35 athletes with take place June 11-18. Twelve players will then be selected to participate in the FIBA U19 Wold Cup at the conclusion of this training camp. The World Cup takes place from June 24 through July 2.

The 35 players consist of some athletes in the 2022 class that have one year of college ball under their belts. The pool of players also consists of athletes from the 2023 incoming freshmen class and the 2024 class who will be high school seniors. More than half of these participants have USA Basketball experience and ten of them have won gold for the USA already.

Jeremy Fears’ USA Basketball history

Jeremy Fears is one of the 10 players mentioned to have already won gold for the USA. In fact, Fears has won a gold medal twice. He won the 2021 U16 FIBA Championships and in 2022 won gold in the U17 FIBA World Cup.

Based on this history alone, I love his chances to make the team again. The USA Basketball program is obviously very familiar with him already which gives him an advantage. Also, why wouldn’t they want someone who has won two gold medals to play for them again?

Fears has yet to move in to East Lansing like some of his fellow members of his freshman class have. He likely will see this event out before moving to campus to start gearing up for the regular season. Michigan State has had many athletes compete with team USA in the past, so Tom Izzo is more than happy to let his players participate.

For the full USA Basketball press release, click here.

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