Tom Izzo and crew will have their first official practice today ( Fri. Sept. 27). Izzo says he’s excited about their chances this year, he even goes on record letting the MSU students know via the Michigan State News Paper that he thinks this squad is as good as the 2000 National Championship squad.
That’s saying a lot coming from an honest Izzo who has three All-Big Ten honorees returning to his squad this season. Adreian Payne C., Keith Appling G., and Gary Harris G. will all be returning, with Appling and Payne passing up possible NBA draft selections to take one more run at the championship.
In all, Tom Izzo will enjoy having an already well established team this season, having five of his six leading scorers back under his coaching staff.
Brandon Dawson SG. will return, he started 35 of the 36 games last season and has been a huge help on the court. Also, rotation regulars – Danzel Valentine G. and Travis Trice G. will return for another year helping fill out Izzo second string options.
Izzo also found himself a point guard as of Thursday. Lourawls Naimrn “Tum-Tum”, has decided to attend Michigan State after looking at three other schools – Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Indiana. Standing 5 foot 7 inches, the addition to the team should put Izzo’s mind at ease after a frustrating couple of weeks in which he lost his target point guard recruit, Tyler Ulis, to Kentucky.
One thing Michigan State does need to look to work on this year is their assist-to-turnover ratio. Last year their assist-to-turnover ratio stat was -1.17. These numbers aren’t great considering all four teams that made it to the Final Four last year had these numbers in the positive zone. But, with Appling returning – leading the team with assist and points – Big Ten Freshmen of the Year, Harris, who is a great pass out option to the wing – Payne dominating the boards and all of their other weapons – this could be what Izzo calls it, a team that’s ready for a Championship.