After declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft just over a month ago, starting senior point guard A.J. Hoggard and starting junior guard Jaden Akins decided that they will both be forgoing the draft and returning to East Lansing for another season, the program announced Wednesday morning.
A.J. Hoggard and Jaden Akins to withdraw from NBA draft, return to MSU basketball
The decision comes on the day players must announce their future plans after neither player was listed in the NBA or G-League combines. Graduate Joey Hauser was able to secure a spot at the G-League combine in early May.
After taking the reins as starting point guard last season, Hoggard earned All-Big Ten honors while leading his team to a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 12.9 points a game and 5.9 assists for the season. Hoggard also was named to the East Region All-Tournament team following the loss to Kansas State in March Madness.
Akins returns after a stellar sophomore season, averaging 9.8 points per contest while shooting at a 42% clip from the three point range. Though the combo guard dealt with nagging injuries during the beginning of the season, Akins eventually found his rhythm near the end of the year, recording 13.4 points per contest and shooting 50% from deep in his last seven games.
With Hoggard and Akins returning, the Spartans are expected to make a run for the Big Ten and National Championship in 2023-2024. They will be joining senior guard Tyson Walker, who announced his decision to return along with senior forward Malik Hall shortly after the season ended.
Accompanying the trio of guards returning will be fellow backcourt mate and five-star point guard Jeremy Fears and MSU's third highest-ranked recruit in five-star forward Xavier Booker as they round out the Spartans top-four recruiting class in the country, which will debut next season.
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