Michigan State basketball: Making the case for more Jaxon Kohler minutes

Michigan State's Jaxon Kohler celebrates after making a basket against Rutgers during the second
Michigan State's Jaxon Kohler celebrates after making a basket against Rutgers during the second / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

I may be beating a dead horse at this point, but it feels only right that we talk about the minutes (or lack thereof) that Jaxon Kohler has been getting with Michigan State basketball since his return from injury.

The talented big man from Utah came to Michigan State with a developed post game and his footwork had fans dreaming of some serious post scoring. But through 1.5 seasons, he hasn't quite done enough to make us believe that he has what it takes to play 15-20 minutes per game -- although he should get that opportunity.

Through five games since his return from a foot injury this season, Kohler has played a whopping 16 minutes and he's scored just four points. While that's not the ratio you want to see, it does show that he's not even getting much of a chance to show that he can do anything.

In fact, he has only played more than three minutes in one of his appearances, an eight-minute showing against Rutgers where he went 1-for-2 from the floor with two points, a rebound, a block, and an assist. His other basket came from a nifty spin and baseline drive against Maryland in the last outing and he also recorded a block against the Terrapins.

And yet he never saw the court again after he played well in those two minutes.

So what gives? Is he in Tom Izzo's dog house? Is he still not completely ready for the stress of a major workload in the post? Is it conditioning-related?

I'm going to assume he's not in the dog house because that hasn't even been rumored. But I would argue that his conditioning has a lot to do with it along with the fact that Izzo probably doesn't want to push him too hard after missing months with a foot injury. Those things can be reaggravated quite easily.

But with how Carson Cooper and Mady Sissoko struggle offensively along with the improvement we've seen in limited playing time with Kohler defensively, I think it's time we see Izzo give him more of a chance to prove himself.

If he can score 8-10 points and grabs 4-5 rebounds per game, that could make Michigan State a legitimate Final Four threat. That's honestly all that's missing right now.

Michigan State has elite guards and wings and a strong forward in Malik Hall with Coen Carr coming off the bench. The post defense is also above average with Sissoko and Cooper, but the one thing that's lacking is offensive production down low. Kohler would immediately fix that.

It's time to give him some run.