By Ben Stram
JRN203, Michigan State University
MSU fans seem worried about next year, and that worry might be warranted. I’m here to show you three things that you need to know about the 2014-15 MSU basketball team. While Keith Appling and Adreian Payne are leaving, many consider Gary Harris to head to the next level as well. There also is an outside chance at Branden Dawson leaving as well, but for this blog, I will only presume that Gary Harris leaves, and not Dawson. Alas, here we go.
1. MSU will be losing over half of its scoring from this year.
MSU will have to find a way to replenish 1,486 points, or 52%, of it’s scoring next year. This might be difficult with all the talent that MSU is losing to the NBA, but Tom Izzo usually finds a way. The next thing we’ll look at is something slightly more optimistic, the three point shooters that MSU returns, which will definitely be a staple of next year’s team.
2. Next year’s team will be able to shoot the ball and space the floor.
Despite losing most of its offensive talent in 2013-14, the Spartans return a lot of three-point shooters in 2014-15. This leads me to believe that MSU will rely on spacing the floor next year. They need a step up in production from players like Alvin Ellis, Kenny Kaminski, and Travis Trice in order to provide solid secondary scoring options outside of Valentine next year. It should be interesting to see how these players expand their roles next year.
3. Tom Izzo will figure it out.
Over the 19 years as the coach at MSU, Tom Izzo has averaged 23.4 wins per year. His teams have lost a lot of talent before and he has rebounded the following year. For the past 17 years, MSU has made the NCAA Tournament. Many have been doubting that would be possible next year, but there will be plenty of talent returning as well as three (possibly four) incoming recruits coming in for MSU to help. The big problem will be if MSU can figure out their depth down low. It will be difficult to replace such talents in Adreian Payne, Gary Harris and Keith Appling, but if anybody can do it, Tom Izzo can.