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Transfer center Szymon Zapala commits to MSU basketball

May 14, 2024
<p>MSU basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo during the game against Minnesota at the Breslin Center on Jan. 9, 2020. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 74-58.</p>

MSU basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo during the game against Minnesota at the Breslin Center on Jan. 9, 2020. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 74-58.

Michigan State men's basketball has once again dipped into the transfer portal.

Former Utah State and Longwood University center Szymon Zapala committed to Michigan State, he announced Tuesday. 

"Thrilled to announce my commitment to Michigan State University," Zapala said. "Proud to be a Spartan! Let's get to work!"

Zapala is MSU head coach Tom Izzo's second transfer commit of the offseason, joining former University of Nebraska Omaha forward Frankie Fidler. Before this offseason, the last transfer to join Izzo's lineup was former guard Tyson Walker, who transfered to MSU in 2021.  MSU was the only Power 5 program to not utilize the portal in 2022 and 2023, the two offseasons most characterized by the NCAA's new one-time transfer rule. 

Zapala, a native of Zaborze, Poland, played for his country's national team during the 2019 U18 FIBA European Championships. In college, he began his career in 2020 at Utah State, playing in 45 games over three seasons for the Aggies while averaging 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds over 4.6 minutes per game. Last season at Longwood University, The 7-foot, 240-pound Zapala averaged 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game, shooting 62.9% from the field and 65.5% at the free-throw line while blocking 29 shots. He started in 24 of 35 games.

Zapala's commitment to Michigan State comes after center Mady Sissoko announced his transfer to the University of California in April. In his final year of eligibility due to the "COVID year" in 2020-21, Zapala will fill MSU's last open scholarship spot.

Now the tallest player on MSU's roster, Zapala gives Izzo and the Spartans starting experience and depth to a frontcourt that was insufficient for most of the 2023-2024 season. He will join incoming juniors Carson Cooper and Jaxon Kohler in a battle for the starting center position this fall.

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