With Michigan State basketball preparing to face Rutgers on Thursday, expect a heavy dose of Rocket Watts with Gabe Brown out.
More unfortunate news struck the Michigan State basketball program this month as Gabe Brown tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of last week, in the midst of a two-week hiatus after Joshua Langford, Mady Sissoko and Steven Izzo all tested positive.
On top of that, Dane Fife tested positive and now 13 players, Tom Izzo and now an assistant coach have contracted the virus this year which is obviously not ideal.
With Langford likely out until at least Sunday and Brown slated to miss the next couple of weeks, Michigan State will feature a heavy dose of Rocket Watts on the wing which could actually boost his confidence and it could be his time to shine.
Since Langford is out, it’s likely that Watts will get back into that starting lineup to form a backcourt duo with AJ Hoggard. He’ll be able to play off the ball most of the time but can handle the point guard duties in a pinch. He’ll also need to step up on the defensive end because Josh was playing stingy defense leading up to his positive test.
Thursday’s game at Rutgers will be a huge test for Watts and it wouldn’t be all that shocking if he contributed 25-30 minutes.
Watts played well in his last matchup with Rutgers, scoring 11 points in 15 minutes, but he is still lacking confidence in his shot. He’s averaging just 9.7 points per game this year and shooting 37 percent from the floor. Both of those need to improve drastically if Michigan State is going to make the NCAA Tournament.
Rutgers will be the first real test to see if Watts has what it takes to be featured in this offense.