Oumar Ballo is elite transfer center who Michigan State basketball must target

Clemson v Arizona
Clemson v Arizona / Harry How/GettyImages

A fair amount of centers have entered the transfer portal so far this offseason, but none that I felt like Michigan State basketball absolutely needs to get. That changed on Monday when one of the top centers in the country entered the portal.

Oumar Ballo is a grad transfer from Arizona. This means that he only has one year of eligibility left, which in my eyes is significant (more to come on this in a second). Out of high school he was a four-star recruit and the No. 66 player in the country. He committed to Gonzaga and played their for one season where he averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

After his freshman season, he transferred to Arizona where he has spent the last three seasons. His stats have improved each season at Arizona, leading to career best averages of 12.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 0.9 steals per game. He also did this on an efficient 66 field goal percentage as well.

Michigan State must go after Ballo

Ballo is a transfer that Michigan State and Tom Izzo must go after. The obvious reason is due to the overwhelming need for a legit center who can start in the Big Ten to once again be on the roster, something that MSU hasn't had since Xavier Tillman left for the NBA.

But there's a bigger reason why Ballo is a good fit for Izzo.

I think we all get the sense the Izzo doesn't want to build his entire team using the portal. I think Izzo wants to use the portal for specific roster needs while still using high school recruits to build the foundation of his teams. Think of the transfers he wants as one or two year rentals to fill a glaring weakness in the team. That is exactly what Ballo can be. He only has one year of eligibility left, so he would be a great option to be the lead guy down low for Michigan State while the staff works to develop other post players for the future.

One thing that Tom Izzo might be able to use to his advantage in this recruitiment is MSU's relationship with Mady Sissoko.

Sissoko, who entered the transfer portal himself, is originally from Mali in West Africa, and he has done a lot of good to help his community while at MSU with the support from the entire team. Ballo is also from Mali and I imagine this would be an awesome thing for him to see. Maybe this would help MSU in his recruitment or maybe it won't, but it's definitely a connection that can't hurt MSU's chances.

Just imagine how good Michigan State can be next year with a center who averages a double-double. The Spartans have the guards already to field a great team as well as a four man in Xavier Booker ready to take a big leap. Ballo is the missing piece this team needs, and Tom Izzo has to go after him as hard as he can.