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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inexperience will be a good thing for MSU hoops

In wake of Michigan State's basketball media day, focus momentarily shifts away from football and to what will take place inside the Breslin Center this winter.
Tom Izzo said at one point in the middle of last season that his team was "trying to work our way out of hell."
They never really did.
Star players Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas went from borderline first-round picks to scrounging for offers oversees, a quest for a third straight Final Four appearance turned into a first-round exit to UCLA and the Spartans were weighed down with injures, infighting and inconsistency as they finished 19-15, 9-9 in Big Ten play.
Lucas and Summers, along with Korie Lucious (who transferred mid-season after being dismissed), Delvon Roe and Garrett Sherman (transferred to Notre Dame) are all gone.
Returning to the Spartans this season are just two players who averaged more than 20 minutes per game last year (Draymond Green and Keith Appling) and they'll be joined by seven players who have yet to play a minute in a Spartan uniform.
This year will be a chance to start over and get back on track.
Fifth-year transfer Brandon Wood was a huge get for Izzo. Wood was a dominant scorer last season for Valpariaso and will slide in nicely to the starting backcourt along with Appling this year. He's an upgrade over Lucas. Freshman Brandon Dawson is a true talent and will likely start at the small forward spot, replacing Summers. Adreian Payne is penciled in to be the team's starting center and his athleticism and pure talent will ultimately top Roe's work ethic and toughness. Add in Green, one of the more complete frontcourt players in college basketball, and MSU has a solid starting five. Travis Rice and Brandan Kearny are two freshman guards that add depth and Derrick Nix has lost weight and apparently rededicated himself to the program.
The bottom line in college basketball is that talent trumps experience, and this Spartan team is talented. They'll struggle early because of their ridiculously tough non-conference schedule, but by the time Big Ten play begins, MSU will have as good of chance to win the conference as anyone else.
Last year was a setback, not a change of course for Spartan basketball.

Here's some other reports from around the web:
Wood looking to make most of 1-and-done stint -- The Oakland Press

Nix, chemistry the talk of MSU media day -- Detroit Free Press

Izzo says Nix is 'miles ahead of last year' -- Lansing State Journal


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