Michigan State Spartans Heading for Exciting Season

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EAST LANSING, MI - DECEMBER 30: Spartans forward Nick Ward (44) and Miles Bridges (22) celebrate during a Big Ten Conference NCAA basketball game between Michigan State and Northwestern on December 30, 2016, at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, MI. Michigan defeated Northwestern 61-52. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Michigan State Spartans Heading for Exciting Season

With just over three months until college basketball begins, take a minute to time travel back to April 13 of this year. For most people, it was probably just a regular Thursday. However, for fans of college basketball, especially those who root for the green and white, it was an exciting day.

Miles Bridges, his family, and Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo sat outside on a cloudy afternoon in East Lansing, surrounded by hundreds of fans. Bridges made an unexpected announcement, stating that he would forgo the NBA Draft and stay at Michigan State for his sophomore season. “One-and-done” – when players stay one year at their respective school before entering the draft – has become common for many college basketball stars. It was refreshing for many fans of the game to see someone with as much potential as Bridges stay another year and continue to grow at the collegiate level.

Recruiting Additions to the Team

Not only is Bridges staying, but the team has picked up two top recruits – Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman. Jackson is a five-star, 6’11” power forward out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Tillman is a four-star power forward standing at 6’9″ out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both players will add much-needed size to a roster that’s tallest active member last season was forward Nick Ward, who stood at 6’8″.

Jackson is a versatile player with quick feet, who can finish well at the rim. He’s also tall and has a well-developed shot. Watch some of his highlights below:

Tillman is a great post player with solid rebounding skills. Like Jackson, he provides height and another big body in the paint. Here are some of Tillman’s highlights:

Upcoming Season 

The Spartans struggled with rebounding last season, so adding Jackson and Tillman could be key to fixing that issue. Michigan State’s other big problem was turnovers. That’s something that can be fixed by simply being smart with the ball.

Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter, both 6’9″ fifth-year seniors, will be options this year after missing last season due to injuries. Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn will provide senior leadership at the point guard position.

These players will join Bridges, Ward, Cassius Winston, and Joshua Langford – all active players last year who will enter the 2017-18 season as sophomores with good experience. Forward Kenny Goins and guard Matt McQuaid will also be returning for their junior year.

With many different lineup options, the most important things going into the season for the Spartans will be staying healthy and taking care of the ball. If the team minimizes those issues early on, Izzo has a full roster that looks promising for a run late into March.

 

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