Michigan State basketball: Where are Spartans from 2019-2022 now?
Some recent Spartans are experiencing pro success.
Checking in on former Michigan State basketball stars from the last few years, and where they are currently playing.
The one-and-done rule has allowed freshman players to make their impact on a program, only to ship off one year later to the next level. Even three and four-year players move on eventually, making way for others to fill their spots on the roster. Such has been the case for Michigan State basketball.
Let’s check in on some of the Michigan State stars who have either graduated or moved onto the next level from 2019-2022, and where they are currently playing.
Gabe Brown, undrafted 2022 — Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate
While at Michigan State, Gabe Brown’s specialties were 3-point shooting and getting the crowd involved with monstrous dunks. After never fully developing into an elite wing, Brown went undrafted in 2022, and would eventually sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Toronto Raptors. He currently is on the Raptors G-League affiliate, Raptors 905, averaging 8.7 points in 16.9 minutes per game.
Marcus Bingham Jr., undrafted 2022 — Dallas Mavericks G-League affiliate
With his extreme size and length, 7-foot-0 with a wingspan of 7-foot-4, Marcus Bingham Jr. had the length to compete as a big in the Big Ten, but his lack of muscle, just 230 pounds, often left him overpowered down low.
To counteract this obvious weakness, however, Bingham developed quite a solid 3-point shot.
After going undrafted in 2022, Bingham was signed by the Dallas Mavericks and was set to begin his career for their G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. Unfortunately, he went down with a season-ending injury in November before making his career debut.
Max Christie, drafted 35th overall in 2022 — Los Angeles Lakers
Coming to Michigan State basketball as a five-star, Max Christie immediately stepped into a starting wing position for Tom Izzo. While not lighting the world on fire, Christie had a good enough season and showed enough potential that he decided to end his collegiate career, and declared for the NBA draft after just one season with the green and white.
Taken at the beginning of the second round, Christie wound up signing a rookie-scale contract with the Lakers. Averaging 3.5 points per game on 41.1 percent field goal shooting, Christie has looked like a good prospect for a drowning LA team.
Christie just recently posted a new career high, scoring 14 points on Jan. 9 in a loss against the Denver Nuggets.
Aaron Henry, undrafted 2021 — Metropolitans 92 (LNB Pro A, France)
Another one of Izzo’s diamond-in-the-rough finds, Aaron Henry was an under-the-radar recruit out of Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. Just a three-star, Henry picked the Spartans over the likes of Ohio State, Xavier, and Illinois. As underrecruited as he was, he made an immediate impact his first year with the program, starting 22 games as a freshman for the green and white.
After eventually growing into the Spartans’ go-to guy, Henry decided to take his physical talents and high basketball IQ to the next level, and test the NBA waters. After much feedback from the league, Henry withdrew from the draft and returned for his junior season in East Lansing. His final season was by far his most productive, averaging more than 15 points and almost six rebounds per game.
Following his productive third year, Henry officially declared for the NBA, going undrafted and eventually signing a two-way contract with the 76ers. Philadelphia’s G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, decided to waive Henry in 2022, only to bring him back a week later. In August of last year, Aaron took his career overseas and joined the Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A League, the top-tier league in France.
Although currently injured, Henry is playing alongside generational phenom Victor Wembanyama.
Josh Langford, retired — Program manager for MSU Multicultural Business Program
Josh Langford held the unique title as a five-time Alabama high school state champion before coming to Michigan State, being that he competed at the high school level in just eighth grade. Langford was a part of arguably one of the best recruiting classes Izzo has ever had: the 2016 class.
When healthy for Michigan State, Langford was fantastic on both offense and defense. His shooting, specifically his legendary mid-range pull-up, along with his excellent basketball IQ allowed Langford to lead our team for multiple years.
Unfortunately, injuries eventually put an end to Langford’s basketball career.
After initially deciding to try his luck at hiring an agent and going towards free agency in the NBA, Langford returned to Michigan State, obtained his master’s degree, and now works as a program manager for the multicultural business program.
Cassius Winston, drafted 53rd overall in 2020 (Wizards) — Bayern Munich (Germany)
Regarded as one of the best point guards in Michigan State basketball history, Cassius Winston was everything you wanted in a college player. His poise under pressure while shooting 43 percent from three led Michigan State to a Final Four during his time with the green and white.
Unfortunately for Winston, there were always questions about whether his size and athletic ability would transfer to the next level. Drafted in the second round by the Washington Wizards, Cash spent most of his time in the NBA with the Wizards’ G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. He was eventually assigned to the Erie BayHawks after the Capital City Go-Go withdrew from their current tournament.
After a handful of two-way contracts, Winston joined the 76ers’ Summer League for a short time and is now currently playing in Germany for Bayern Munich, averaging 17.2 points per game.
Xavier Tillman Sr., drafted 35th overall in 2020 — Memphis Grizzlies
Considered, in 2017, the best recruit in Michigan, Xavier Tillman chose Michigan State due to the level of competition the Spartans face, as well as its proximity to his home. Once on campus, Tillman embodied what it means to be a Spartan, both on and off the court. Improving in each offseason, Tillman acted as both the team’s leader and one of their main contributors during his final season at MSU. After being named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Tillman declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Xavier was drafted 35th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies, joining former teammate Jaren Jackson Jr.
While not rewriting record books in the NBA, Tillman is playing his role position well. Playing in 25 games this season, he is averaging 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds coming off the bench.
Miles Bridges posts interesting Snapchat with Michael Jordan
Miles Bridges is eyeing an NBA return.
Miles Bridges has been out of the NBA for a year after getting into a domestic incident but it looks like he may be back soon.
Former Michigan State star Miles Bridges posted a picture on Snapchat of him talking to Michael Jordan on Saturday.
Miles Bridges on Snapchat 👀 pic.twitter.com/mAdSZu9cvx
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) May 20, 2023
After being out of the NBA for a year, this could be a hint at a return despite the controversy that would follow him.
Bridges has been in a lot of trouble off the court this past year. That is not something we need to dive into now, but Bridges missed all of last season due to serious legal issues. However, with Miles’ legal battle now complete, he is now able to play in the NBA again. The NBA suspended Bridges for 30 games but has ruled 20 of those games as being served. If an NBA team were to sign Bridges, he would have to sit for just 10 games before he can play again.
The picture above may be an indication of which team is looking to sign Bridges. Miles has spent his entire NBA career playing with the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan is the owner of the Hornets, so this picture shows that Bridges may be looking to re-sign with his former team.
Bridges has played four seasons in the NBA. During that time, he is averaging 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. His best season by far was his last. In the 2021-22 season, he averaged 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field. He has shown constant improvement during his career, but there is a lot of unknown with where his game is at now.
Relationship with MSU Fans
Michigan State fans do not support Miles like they once did. He was one of the most loved Spartans especially after he made the decision to return for a second season in East Lansing. Spartan fans continued to watch and support him during his NBA career as well. That all changed once his off-court legal issues began last year.
It will be interesting to see how all basketball fans treat Bridges if he makes a return to the NBA.
Gary Harris back taking Michigan State classes to earn his degree
Gary Harris hasn’t given up on that degree.
Gary Harris is back taking summer classes at Michigan State so he can earn his degree during the NBA offseason.
Every NBA draft cycle, players leave college early to pursue their dreams of playing professionally and making millions. What often gets overlooked when that happens is that the players who leave early surrender a chance to earn their college degrees on schedule.
Some players who leave early decide to go back and finish their degree which is a really cool move and it shows that they took college seriously.
Others don’t think twice about their degrees and just play pro ball.
Gary Harris is the former group.
According to @dudenamedcald on Twitter, Harris is taking classes at Michigan State currently so he can finish his degree. He posted a screenshot of a discussion post by Harris in one of his friend’s summer classes.
The goat Gary Harris is getting back to hitting the books for MSU. An absolute class act by Gary
Spartan dawg 4L 💯 pic.twitter.com/mzhFYgagPy
— down bad cald🔋 (@dudenamedcald) May 19, 2023
Imagine taking a summer class at Michigan State and then seeing a “discussion post” from a “Gary Harris” and then reading it just to see if it’s the Gary Harris. And then it is.
Harris, currently residing in Indiana over the summer, just wrapped up a season with the Orlando Magic in which he averaged 8.3 points and shot 45 percent from the floor, 43 percent from 3-point range, and 90 percent from the free throw line. His averages have gone down, but his shooting percentages remain elite.
But he’s clearly not content with being just an NBA starter. He wants to earn that MSU degree.
Leaving after the 2013-14 season, Harris was drafted No. 19 overall in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He played two years at Michigan State and then earned a borderline NBA Lottery draft grade but slid to 19. Harris was then traded to Denver where he was one of the league’s brightest young stars for seven years. For the past three years, he’s been Orlando’s “veteran” wing.
And soon, he’ll be a graduate of Michigan State University.
Brian Lewerke gets another opportunity to play pro football
Brian Lewerke is headed back to Michigan to play pro ball.
Brian Lewerke will be joining former MSU cornerback Josh Butler in the USFL with the Michigan Panthers.
After spending a couple of stints in the NFL with the Patriots and Giants as a practice squad member, Brian Lewerke is getting another shot at professional football.
On Wednesday evening, the USFL’s Michigan Panthers announced the signing of Lewerke.
Free Agent Signing:
QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Transferred Player to Inactive Roster:
QB Brian Lewerke
LB Santrell Latham
— Michigan Panthers (@USFLPanthers) May 18, 2023
Lewerke was signed after Carson Strong, the previous backup quarterback, was placed on injured reserve. He will now get a chance to compete for a prominent role on the roster with Strong injured and Josh Love not exactly setting the world on fire.
Quarterback play has not been a strength for the Panthers.
In four appearances, Strong had 266 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Love, on the other hand, has started five games and has 617 yards and six touchdowns with five picks. Neither quarterback has really stood out and that’s one of the reasons the Panthers are 2-3 and tied for last place.
Lewerke has spent time around the NFL with the Patriots and Giants and he was also in the XFL this past season for a few months, signing with the Seattle Sea Dragons. He was released in January.
Now he’ll look to catch on with the Panthers and potentially enter a more favorable situation. This could be a good spot for him to play professional football, especially since the Panthers need some quarterback help.
Lewerke had a decent career at Michigan State, passing for over 8,000 (fourth in MSU history) yards and 47 touchdowns (fifth in MSU history). He also has two of the top three single-game passing yard performances in Michigan State history and two of the top 10 single-season passing yardages.
Michigan State fans will get another opportunity to watch him live as there are two more home games left in the regular season for Lewerke to play at Ford Field.
The former Spartan quarterback will join Josh Butler who was signed by the Panthers earlier this spring.
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