Connect with us


Michigan State Basketball: Predicting stat lines for incoming freshmen

How will the 2023 recruiting class fare?



Michigan State basketball
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State basketball is bringing in the nation’s No. 4 recruiting class, but what can we expect from the newcomers?

With the Michigan State basketball season completed, and the high school circuit right on its tail, we can officially look toward next season. Tom Izzo and Co. are bringing in arguably one of their best classes ever, led by five-star center Xavier Booker. Along with Booker, the green and white welcome fellow five-star point guard Jeremy Fears, and four-stars Coen Carr and Gehrig Normand.

So what can we expect from the newcomers?

Let’s take a look at their strengths and weaknesses, where they fit in with the current Spartans, and what their first-year stat line could look like.

Xavier Booker (6-foot-10), Center

Senior year high school stat line: 24 games, 15.2 points, 1.8 assists, 8.3 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 1.9 blocks, 70% 2-point FG, 24% 3-point FG

Headlining the class, Booker comes to MSU as Izzo’s third-best recruit of all time. The 6-foot-10 center ranks as the eighth-best player in the nation, and second at his position.

In watching Booker, his strengths are quite apparent. Even at almost 6-foot-11, his ball handling is above average, and his shooting, whether spot up or off the dribble, is a plus of his game. Booker is fantastic at running the floor, a staple in Izzo-led teams. Because of his scoring and passing abilities combined with his raw talent, Booker sees himself starting his MSU career at the four spot. His ability to move out towards the perimeter would pair nicely with any of the Spartan big men playing alongside him, whether that be Mady Sissoko, Carson Cooper, or Jaxon Kohler.

While the potential is obviously there, there are a few key pieces Izzo will have to work with Xavier on. His defense is not as imposing as it should be, he has a tendency to let the game play him by, and if he is to compete with other bigs in the Big Ten, he will need to add substantial muscle. Still, strictly based on his potential, Booker is a day-one starter for Izzo in my opinion.

Predicted freshman year stat line: 31 games, 7.6 points, 1.5 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 2.1 blocks

Jeremy Fears (6-foot-1), Point Guard

Senior year high school stat line: 34 games, 18.8 points, 5.3 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 51.1% 2-point FG, 37.5% 3-point FG

Jeremy Fears played in the McDonald’s All-American game a few weeks ago along with Booker, and the announcers could not say enough about the incoming point guard. Fears had the extra difficult task of trying to showcase his abilities while not being the most talented point guard on the floor thanks to Isaiah Collier, but I think this allowed Spartan fans to get a glimpse of what Fears will be for Michigan State basketball next year. His floor vision and leadership skills are far above average, and his blow-by speed opens up his game in all aspects. Whether he chooses to finish at the basket, pull up from mid-range, or dish to an open player for the assist, Fears has elite playmaking potential.

A.J. Hoggard will be starting as it’s his offense but Fears’ ability to command and facilitate an offense will keep it hard for Izzo to keep him on the bench. Tre Holloman will have the experience, but Fears is the better passer, scorer, and leader. Who will get the nod when Hoggard needs a breather, and who will be relegated to third-string is a position battle I’m eager to see.

Predicted freshman year stat line: 30 games, 5.3 points, 1.6 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks

Coen Carr (6-foot-7), Forward

Senior year high school stat line: 12 games, 12.0 points, 1.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 53% 2-point FG, 26% 3-point FG

Coen Carr comes to Michigan State basketball as the most athletic recruit Izzo has had in years. We’re talking athletic ability similar to that of Shannon Brown or Miles Bridges. Both players were able to get every fan at the Breslin on their feet with a monstrous dunk, and Carr is expected to do the same. Using his aggressive driving tendencies, opposing defenders will be forced to make a business decision to get out of the way, or get caught in a highlight reel. His athleticism, motor, and effort will play nicely in the transition game, running the floor and being on receiving end of a Hoggard alley-oop.

Other than Carr’s insane motor and athletic potential, however, his offensive game away from the basket is somewhat limited. His shooting and ball handling will need to catch up to his athleticism if he is to make a name for himself at the college level.

Unfortunately for Carr, he has the size to play the three, but lacks the elite offensive skill; he has the motor and drive to play the four, but lacks the size. Being stuck in-between, the most realistic route for Carr to see more time at the next level is to continue developing his offensive versatility. Still, I expect Carr to play for the green and white for many years to come, becoming more and more of a do-everything type of player.

Predicted freshman year stat line: 27 points, 2.2 points, 0.2 assists, 1.3 rebounds, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks

Gehrig Normand (6-foot-6), Forward

Senior year high school stat line: 23 games, 12.0 points, 4.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds, 57.2% 2-point FG, 39.3% 3-point FG

Labeled as a late riser, Gehrig Normand only held three scholarships from mid-major schools in 2021. Taking time to work on his driving and finishing skills, he also would grow into his 6-foot-6 frame, adding much-needed muscle. Eventually working his way up to a four-star recruit, Normand committed to the Spartans in August of 2022 and rounded out Izzo’s recruiting class.

Similar to Carr, Normand is said to possess an elite motor and have surprising jumping abilities. After having an average junior year in terms of shooting, it’s been reported that his 3-point abilities have grown tremendously. Even though his passing and court vision is considered above average, he is clearly more comfortable without the ball in his hands and will need to work on his ball-handling skills. Projected as a four-year player, Normand has the chance to grow into a reliable second or third offensive option once given some experience at the collegiate level.

Predicted freshman year stat line: 25 games, 1.9 points, 0.6 assists, 0.6 rebounds


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading