Jaden Akins' start to the season couldn't have been more disappointing. He decided to return to Michigan State basketball in order to prove that he was worthy of NBA draft consideration after the 2023-24 season, but early on, he looked like anything but a reliable prospect.
That's starting to change, on both ends of the floor.
With Indiana State storming back from down 10 at halftime on Saturday afternoon and Michigan State looking for answers for a red-hot Isaiah Swope, Jaden Akins switched onto the Sycamores' hottest player and really shut him down, allowing for a Spartan comeback.
Everyone seemed to take notice of Akins' defensive effort which really changed the trajectory of the game which looked like it was headed for an Indiana State upset.
Swope was 6-for-11 from deep with 22 points at one point in the second half and then Akins took over on him and he finished 0-for-2 from long-range, scoring just four more points. This was an impressive defensive effort from the junior who stopped the bleeding when Swope was the reason the Sycamores took a 5-point lead in the second half.
Akins changed the game and gave the Spartans all the momentum, and it started on the defensive end. It won't show up in the box score, but he deserves his flowers.
And he got back on track offensively as well, scoring 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and 2-for-5 from deep. He was a great two-way player and that's something this team needs moving forward.
If we get this Akins moving forward, watch out.