Is Xavier Booker the reason Tom Izzo isn't targeting a center in the portal?

Michigan State forward Xavier Booker (34) dunks against Minnesota during the first half of Second
Michigan State forward Xavier Booker (34) dunks against Minnesota during the first half of Second / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tom Izzo has done an excellent job recuiting the transfer portal so far this offseason. He has been publically connected with four transfers so far, and even has one on campus this weekend in Frankie Fidler. The most impressive thing so far is that Michigan State has been included in each of these four transfer's "top lists" which is no small feat.

However, the one thing Izzo has not done yet is go after a center in the transfer portal.

This is surprising to not just me, but all of Spartan Nation because that is the one position most of us thought was the top priority to address this offseason. So what gives? Is Izzo maybe not interested in any portal entrants yet? Or does he already have what he needs on the roster?

Xavier Booker may be the answer

My best guess is that Izzo is choosing to roll with Xavier Booker as the starting center for next season. I personally hoped to see Booker play the four alongside a transfer center, but my guess is that Izzo is opting to go with Booker at the five instead.

The next question is if this is a good idea. Booker struggled to see the floor most of this season, mainly due to his struggles on the defensive end and rebounding the ball. A lot of that, in my opinion, wasn't due to a lack of playing ability, but rather a lack of strength. That is something that Booker has already addressed as he reportedly added about 20 pounds of muscle during the season. That is likely the reason Booker began to play more toward the end of the season.

So now imagine how much more strength Booker will be able to add this offseason. For the next few months, he doesn't have to worry about preparing for the next opponent, all he has to do is focus on himself. And a main focus undoubtedly will be increasing his strength in the weight room. So if Booker can improve on that and become a solid contributor both on defense and rebounding the ball, he absolutely will be a sold starting center next year.

I also think it works out well to have Carson Cooper and Jaxon Kohler as backups coming off the bench as well. Both are solid players, but I don't think they are quite ready to become a starter on a Big Ten team. But they are great options to have as backups off the bench.

There is always the chance that Izzo has contacted a center in the portal that we don't know about yet, and if that's the case then I will be extremely excited. But if he is choosing to ride with what is on the roster, I think Booker at the five with Cooper and Kohler as backups isn't as bad as people might think.