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Should Michigan State basketball still target a transfer?

Is Tom Izzo’s roster likely set?

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Michigan State basketball
© Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Izzo seems to have his Michigan State basketball roster set in stone, but could a transfer be possible?

Transfer portal season is in full swing and, so far, Michigan State basketball has been one of the more silent programs in the country when it comes to transfers this year.

Michigan State has only had one player transfer from the program so far in Pierre Brooks which, by all accounts, was expected this offseason. Brooks’ transfer has opened a scholarship up for Tom Izzo to dip into the transfer portal if he sees fit, but MSU is also still waiting to hear final decisions from both AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins as they go through the NBA draft process.

Should MSU look to add a transfer regardless of what Hoggard and Akins decide to do?

In short no, I don’t think Michigan State should look to add a transfer just yet. If both AJ and Akins decide to return, which appears to be the most likely scenario, then the roster is constructed perfectly and there is no need to add another bench piece. Adding another transfer in this scenario would just take away developmental minutes for our incoming freshman as well as our other returning bench pieces including Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler, and Carson Cooper.

We need our guys to get as much experience as possible this season as they are all looking to take on increased roles for the following 2024 season when a lot of our starters graduate or head off to the pros.

But what if one or both of Akins and Hoggard do decide to officially enter the draft or transfer to a new program? I think the answer is pretty obvious if both end up leaving and that Izzo should hit the portal to look for a veteran guard who will likely spend just one more year in college.

However, the answer may not be so clear if only one decides to leave MSU.

There are definitely pros and cons to adding a transfer if only one of Akins or Hoggard decides to leave. Adding a solid veteran transfer would immediately put MSU back in the national title conversation. This veteran transfer could be a great leader for our young guys to learn from before they officially take over the reins in the years to come. I think the ideal transfer would be a “three-and-D” type of player who does not need to be on the ball much. This would allow Tyson Walker to still run the show and give Holloman more experience running the point. This type of transfer would also help develop incoming five-star freshman Jeremy Fears as he would likely take on a significant role immediately to help replace Akins or Hoggard.

However, there may be more benefits to still avoid adding a transfer. Michigan State basketball would still have a very good roster, one that on paper may still be better than last year with the additions of multiple talented freshmen. Those freshmen are the reason why I think Izzo should avoid adding a transfer in this scenario. The incoming class is all capable players that will be able to contribute in some capacity in year one in East Lansing. Adding another transfer to the mix only takes precious developmental minutes from them and other returning bench players which stunts their growth towards the future. These are guys that will need to lead the team in the future, so they need as many minutes now as possible instead of sitting behind someone new who may only be in East Lansing for one year.

It’s no secret that Izzo is apprehensive at best when it comes to utilizing the transfer portal, so I would bet on him going against adding a transfer if one of Akins or Hoggard leaves the program. Even with the recent success Izzo has had when adding players from the portal with Joey Hauser and Tyson Walker, I think he would once again choose to show loyalty and roll with the team he’s got.

Izzo is one of the best coaches in the country, so I trust him to make the right decision here and to have his team playing their best basketball in March like we are accustomed to.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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