Following the news of Karim Mane’s decision to remain in the NBA draft, Michigan State basketball’s Rocket Watts’ role expanded.
What was looking to be a great week for Michigan State basketball, following back-to-back weeks of five-star commitments ended up being a relatively disappointing one.
Rumors swirled about Xavier Tillman’s potential return to East Lansing for a final season and there was still a chance the Spartans could hear about a commitment in the 2020 class from Karim Mane or even 2021 from Jaden Akins.
Tillman’s mother then refuted the claim that her son had made a decision to return and Mane ended up signing an agent and remaining in the NBA draft for good.
That all seemed like tough news, but Tillman could still return and Mane’s decision to not come to East Lansing only solidified what fans had been feeling for a while: Rocket Watts is about to become a household name on a national level.
Multiple publications, including Busting Brackets who listed him as the No. 1 breakout sophomore, have been talking about Watts breaking out in 2020-21.
Now that he’s likely the lone option at starting point guard for 2020-21, Watts has some proving to do, but if the second half of his freshman season was any indication, he’s about to become a player of the year candidate before we know it.
Rocket dominating minutes at point
If Mane were to commit to Michigan State, there’s a good chance he would have taken over the starting duties at point guard, allowing Watts to play the two. Now that he’s not coming, Watts can move forward with the mindset that he’s the guy at point for the Spartans, replacing All-American Cassius Winston.
Those are some big shoes to fill, but Watts isn’t afraid of the spotlight; he embraces it.
Back as the top point guard option, Watts will have true freshman AJ Hoggard behind him as well as Foster Loyer. Both of his backups are unproven and that just means that he’ll have to play 30-35 minutes per game at point and that might just be a good thing for MSU.
While Rocket isn’t quite the passer Cassius was, he’s every bit as threatening as a scorer. He can create for himself with step-backs, dribble-drives and mid-range jumpers. He’s shifty and more athletic than Cassius was and defenders have to put a little pressure on him but they can’t sag off or he’ll just drain a three.
Rocket averaged 9.0 points per game as a freshman, but I’d be shocked if that number wasn’t doubled as a sophomore.
This kid is going to be an overnight national sensation.