After weeks of speculation among Michigan State basketball fans and rumors swirling left and right, a Jaden Akins decision has officially been made.
On Friday afternoon, the sophomore guard decided that he would declare for the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility.
The wording in his message seemed fairly encouraging when it comes to a potential return.
The phrase that stands out to me is “Next season could be special for Spartan basketball and that motivates me to get better each and every day.”
For those worrying about him leaving, players don’t usually say things like that if they don’t plan on returning. He didn’t enter his name into the portal while declaring for the draft like some prospects do and it feels like when he gets the feedback from the NBA scouts, he’ll be back in East Lansing next season to help Michigan State chase the national title.
This was an expected decision, and a smart one for any prospect who has hopes of one day being drafted. Akins will get some good feedback.
Michigan State basketball is going to expect Akins back
Moving forward, I can bet that Tom Izzo and Michigan State will be operating as if Akins is returning and the roster planning will be based on that.
We’ve seen this before with players who we thought “weren’t quite ready” and the most recent was Aaron Henry after his sophomore year. We knew he’d be coming back, but he had NBA talent and wanted to get feedback from scouts. He improved as a junior but never quite caught on in the NBA after going undrafted in 2021.
I’d bet we see Akins back next season and he’ll be improved and hopefully handling the ball more than he did in 2022-23.