Friday, April 12, 2024

MSU men’s basketball set to open exhibition play against Hillsdale College

October 24, 2023
<p>Freshman forward Coen Carr (55) and senior center Mady Sissoko (22) jumping to tip the ball at the start of a scrimmage game during the Michigan State Madness event at the Breslin Center on Oct. 13, 2023.</p>

Freshman forward Coen Carr (55) and senior center Mady Sissoko (22) jumping to tip the ball at the start of a scrimmage game during the Michigan State Madness event at the Breslin Center on Oct. 13, 2023.

Photo by Donté Smith | The State News

The wait for college basketball is almost over.

MSU men’s basketball is back in action Wednesday night, slated to host Hillsdale College in its first exhibition game following an offseason filled to the brim with anticipation.

Ranked No. 4 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll, the Spartans enter the 2023-2024 season with sky-high expectations after returning four starters from last year’s Sweet 16 squad and a top 5 freshman class, according to 247 Sports. 

Among the returning veterans for MSU are guards Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard, who both earned a spot on the Preseason All-Big Ten team from the media, leading the charge in the Spartan backcourt alongside Jaden Akins, a junior guard looking to break out after solidifying his role a year ago. 

MSU’s experienced deep backcourt is accompanied by sophomore guard Tre Holloman and freshmen guards Jeremy Fears Jr. and Gehrig Normand.

Walker was one of 20 players selected to the Preseason Watch List for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, though he’s no stranger to the point guard position. But, with a plethora of ball-handling playmakers in the Spartan backcourt, Walker will likely settle into the scoring guard role even more this season. 

Down low, expect graduate student forward Malik Hall and senior center Mady Sissoko to start on opening night. The Spartans rolled out a Walker-Hoggard-Akins-Hall-Sissoko first team in the MSU Madness and Green and White scrimmages.

Unlike the 2022-2023 season, MSU possesses tremendous depth in the frontcourt. After Hall and Sissoko, head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo will have options off the bench in sophomore center Carson Cooper and freshmen forwards Xavier Booker and Coen Carr

The first wrinkle in MSU’s highly-anticipated 2023-2024 campaign came last week when it was announced that sophomore forward Jaxon Kohler underwent surgery on his left foot, sidelining him for a majority of the non-conference schedule.

The team expects Kohler to return before Christmas. 

Scouting Hillsdale

The Hillsdale Chargers of NCAA Division II are coming off a 23-7 season in which they went 13-1 at home before being eliminated by Northern Michigan in the DII quarterfinal. 

Hillsdale is led by first-year head coach Keven Bradley, who stepped into the role in April after a successful stint as top assistant to previous head coach John Tharp. In his three years as an assistant, Bradley helped guide the Chargers to an unprecedented three consecutive NCAA DII Tournament berths.

Junior forward Joe Reuter is Hillsdale’s only returning starter, displaying the Chargers’ high roster turnover from a year ago. However, they bring back contributors in junior guard Charles Woodhams, junior forward Eric Radisevic, and sophomore guard Ashton Janowski.

Last season, Hillsdale strength on both sides was around the perimeter, shooting nearly 40 percent on over 22 attempts per game from three and holding opponents to just 31 percent from behind the arc. 

MSU takes on Hillsdale on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Breslin Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. 

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Discussion

Share and discuss “MSU men’s basketball set to open exhibition play against Hillsdale College” on social media.