Should we trust that Tom Izzo will actually give Xavier Booker more minutes?

Michigan State's Xavier Booker makes a 3-pointer against Stony Brook during the second half on
Michigan State's Xavier Booker makes a 3-pointer against Stony Brook during the second half on / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Tom Izzo is a fairly stubborn head coach. He's earned that right, though, as he's a Hall of Famer who has made eight Final Fours and won a national title back in 2000. But sometimes, he just seems so stuck in his ways even when it feels like it hurts the team.

Such has been the case this season with the handling of Xavier Booker.

The five-star freshman came in with sky-high expectations in which Izzo tempered before the season began, saying that his talented big man was raw and would require patience. He was right, Booker is on the raw side and isn't the strongest big, but he has shown potential in very limited action. And with the issues at the center position, fans have been clamoring for more.

In fact, Booker has seen the floor in such limited instances lately despite being effective in that short time that fans are wondering what's happening behind the scenes.

Well, Izzo took to the media on Monday and vowed to play his freshman big man more.

It's nice to hear that Izzo is aware of Booker's progress and the fact that he's up 20 pounds since getting to East Lansing is huge. He claims that he's getting more comfortable and that "you're gonna see more minutes out of him."

Should we believe this, though?

This is not the first time that Izzo has vowed to play Booker more. He has said the same thing earlier in Big Ten play and all we've seen since is three minutes here or five minutes there. He's had eight games in which he didn't even see the floor at all. That's unacceptable for a player of his caliber.

Izzo probably wouldn't say this again if it weren't in his plan, though. He has been praising Booker's progress and there have probably been some behind-the-scenes goals met by the freshman that have caused Izzo to vow more playing time on his behalf.

I think Tuesday will be an important showing for Booker. If he sees the floor, he's going to have his hands full with a couple of talented Iowa bigs. But he needs to hold his ground, stretch the floor, and show that he belongs in the regular rotation. He has to showcase that motor that we've seen in his past couple of games.

I would not be shocked to see him get 8-10 minutes on Tuesday to prove himself.