Connect with us


Michigan State basketball: What if trades were allowed in college hoops?

I mean, the NIL already makes college sports the wild wild west.



Michigan State basketball
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What if college hoops allowed for blockbuster trades similar to the NBA? What type of package would Michigan State basketball put together?

The transfer portal in today’s college basketball allows programs to identify roster strengths and weaknesses and then upgrade accordingly. While this is more like free agency at the professional level, what if college basketball teams could put together trades? What packages could Tom Izzo and Michigan State basketball put together to solidify his 2024 roster?

Let’s have some fun and take a look at four different trades that could elevate the Spartans into a surefire championship-caliber team.

Trade Option 1

Michigan State receives: Zach Freemantle, F (6-9 RS Senior)
Xavier receives: Malik Hall, F (6-8 RS Senior) and Mady Sissoko, C (6-9 Senior)

Trade option No. 1 has Michigan State upgrading at the five with redshirt senior Zach Freemantle from Xavier. The 6-foot-9 forward is coming off a season in which he put up 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists per game on a Xavier team that made it to the Sweet 16.

Xavier is bringing in two guards from the transfer portal, but they are still weak at the 3/4 position. Malik Hall would fit nicely into Xavier’s starting lineup. Hall, when healthy, is a very solid, veteran wing player. He would be able to provide experience and leadership for the two incoming Xavier guards, who are from smaller programs. After grabbing center Abou Ousmane from North Texas, Xavier can afford the loss of Freemantle, who is also coming off foot surgery in the offseason. Adding Sissoko would tip the scale and provide a depth piece at the five behind Ousmane.

Michigan State is able to upgrade tremendously down low, while only offering a veteran sixth man and a center whose ceiling we have most likely already found.

Trade Option 2

Michigan State receives: Ben Krikke, F (6-9 Senior)
Iowa receives: Tre Holloman, G (6-2 Sophomore) and Malik Hall, F (6-8, RS Senior)

Trade option 2 is interesting as it would be within the Big Ten. On top of it being inter-conference, it includes Michigan State acquiring a player from Iowa who hasn’t actually played for the Hawkeyes yet. Graduate senior Ben Krikke has committed to play for Iowa after spending his first four years at Valparaiso. Putting up 19 points per game, six rebounds, and over two assists per game, Krikke’s offensive abilities would pair nicely next to Sissoko who would essentially then act as the more defensive big down low. Additionally, this would give Xavier Booker more time to learn from the veteran big man.

As Iowa saw Krikke join the program, they also saw starting guard Ahron Ulis transfer out. With Ulis’ exit, the Hawkeyes are extremely green at the two positions. Tony Perkins will return for his senior year, but alongside him will most likely be the unproven Josh Dix.

For Michigan State basketball, Tre Holloman might quickly find himself on the outs with elite point guard Jeremy Fears coming to campus next season. Holloman, a former four-star and Gatorade Player of the Year himself, would shore up the guard position for Iowa.

Including veteran wing Malik Hall to provide a replacement for Krikke would sweeten the deal.

Trade Option 3

Michigan State receives: Oumar Ballo, C (7-0 Senior) and Jaden Bradley, G (6-3 Sophomore)
Arizona receives: A.J. Hoggard, G (6-4 Senior) and Jaxon Kohler, F (6-9 Sophomore)

Package option three is similar to option two but results in a more proven, dominant center coming back to East Lansing.

The fit for MSU is obvious. Oumar Ballo is a 7-foot bruiser down low who just averaged 14 and seven for the Wildcats. At 260 pounds, Ballo has the size and weight to go toe to toe with other Big Ten centers. Coming with Ballo to MSU would be the big point guard Jaden Bradley who just recently transferred from Alabama. His services will be required to fill the hole left by what the Spartans would need to give up.

To acquire a dominant big such as Ballo, Michigan State would need to part with point guard AJ Hoggard. His size allows him to play a physical game for a point guard and his three-point shooting has improved each season. While there is constant debate surrounding Hoggard’s body language and effort, his absence would be a big loss for MSU. However, you are getting a younger, former four-star point guard back in Bradley. Plus, incoming freshman Jeremy Fears is expected to play a major role for the Spartans anyways.

For Michigan State, this would hamper the guard play but greatly increase the five. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons in this scenario.

Trade Option 4

Michigan State receives: Ugonna Onyenso, F (6-11 Sophomore) and Adou Thiero, CG (6-6 Sophomore)
Kentucky receives: Malik Hall, F /(6-8 RS Senior) and Mady Sissoko, C (6-9, Senior)

The final trade package option for Michigan State is with close friend of Tom Izzo, John Calipari, and the Kentucky Wildcats. This deal addresses the same needs as the other three options. Using Malik’s experience and skillset to net more potential down low. Kentucky notoriously puts out extremely young lineups as Calipari is the king of one-and-dones, so Hall’s veteran leadership would once again be a welcome sight for the Wildcats. Between the two, three, and four spots, Kentucky needs one more to go along with Justin Edwards and Antonio Reeves so Hall would possibly slide right into the starting lineup.

The expectation is that incoming five-star freshman and No. 4 recruit in the country Aaron Bradshaw will take over for the outgoing Oscar Tshiebwe. Knowing this, Onyenso already jumped into the transfer portal but eventually decided to withdraw and stick with Kentucky. It’s obvious he’s the odd man out after not being given the chance to show his abilities during his freshman year, but the former four-star, 7-foot sophomore with a 7-foot-5 wingspan would slide right into the open center position for the green and white.

Mady Sissoko would go to the Wildcats to back up the freshman phenom, and Adou Thiero would come with Onyenso to East Lansing as a depth piece. Thiero, while not contributing much during his freshman year, is still a former four-star 6-foot-5 combo guard who could shift between the three and four for Tom Izzo and Michigan State basketball.


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