Must . . . not . . . get . . . emotionally . . . invested . . . in . . . MSU . . . football . . . team.
We’re now just 25 days from Midnight Madness (Friday, October 17; haven’t seen any details yet). Let’s chat about how this basketball team will fit together.
We’ve talked about how depth appears to be a key to the success of Izzo-coached teams. The 2008-09 team has the potential to utilize a deeper rotation than the teams of the last several years, with 13 scholarship players who could conceivably contribute in the right situation. But those 13 players are pretty clearly divided into two groups–with seven guys who will almost certainly be major contributors and six guys whose roles aren’t very well defined.
Here are the seven players who, assuming they stay healthy, are very likely to play at least 20 minutes per game:
- Kalin Lucas
- Travis Walton
- Chris Allen
- Durrell Summers
- Raymar Morgan
- Delvon Roe
- Goran Suton
That’s a pretty versatile group, with five guys who can play the three perimeter spots and three guys that can play the two “big” spots. Hopefully, though, the regular playing rotation will be at least eight players deep, if not nine or ten deep.
Here’s a rundown of the six candidates to fill those additional spots in the playing rotation (in alphabetical order):
Isaiah Dahlman: Given his lack of playing time last season, and the talk of a redshirt this year (which I now assume won’t be happening), it’s hard to see Dahlman getting major minutes. But if Izzo intends to play a smaller lineup much of the time, they could need an extra wing player at some point.
Marquise Gray: As a fifth-year senior with loads of natural ability, Gray would be an obvious choice to get significant minutes. But there are two major questions that continue to haunt him: Can he stay healthy? And can he avoid the major mental lapses that led to his minutes getting severely reduced at the end of last season?
Draymond Green: I don’t know a ton about Green, but the loss of weight over the offseason reported by Eric Lacy yesterday indicates he could be a candidate to play a similar role to Morgan–using a combination of mid-range shooting and rebounding ability to shift between the 3 and 4 spots.
Tom Herzog: It’s hard to see Herzog getting major minutes on a consistent basis, particularly with Izzo’s statements about playing smaller and faster. But Herzog has added weight over the offseason. At some point, he may become a potential fill-in for Suton in the middle.
Idong Ibok: Ditto. Except Ibok has probably developed as much as he’s going to as a college basketball player.
Korie Lucious: Having two experienced point guards in Lucas and Walton would, on first analysis, seem to preclude Lucious from playing a major role this year. But (1) we know Izzo isn’t opposed to multiple point-guard line-ups (much to my chagrin at times) and (2) Lucious is reportedly a pure outside shooter, and this team may need more shooters on the floor in the absence of Drew Neitzel.
So here’s your Coffee Talk question: Who do you think becomes the #8 guy in the playing rotation? How many players deep do you expect the playing rotation to go? Vote and comment below.