Tom Izzo discusses his high expectations for Jeremy Fears

Champions Classic: Duke v Michigan State
Champions Classic: Duke v Michigan State / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

I think I can speak for most of the Michigan State basketball fanbase when I say that I am most excited to watch Jeremy Fears next season. Not only because he is an elite talent, but because he had over half of his season stripped away from him this year. By all accounts he should be healthy and ready to go for next season, so what should we expect from him?

Tom Izzo was asked about Jeremy Fears on The Drive with Jack and if he thinks Fears is next in line among the all-time great point guards that have come through Michigan State. Izzo’s answer may surprise you a little.

When asked if Fears will be the next great point guard who is an extension of Izzo on the court, he said, “I think he is.”

Izzo then expanded and talked about a player that Jeremy reminds him of.

“The last game he (Fears) played he had 10 assists in 15 minutes. He’s got those same Mateen-type quarterback skills and leadership skills.”

Now that’s a lofty comparison. But maybe there’s some truth to it. We already know how much of a natural leader Fears is and he proved that during his short freshman season. So maybe he is already showing us signs of being like Mateen Cleaves. Of course, Izzo did dial it back a little bit after that comment, saying, “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him (Fears) but I think he’s got those skills. I think he’s gotta improve his shooting just like Mateen did.”

But the one thing that separates Fears is his work ethic. Izzo brought this up as well.

“He works morning, noon, and night.”

Tom wrapped up this discussion on Fears by saying how this past season watching from the sidelines could help Fears and that “he learned a lot watching.” Sure, he could’ve learned more actually playing, but the great players can learn just as much from watching. So Fears can bring that unique perspective into next season when he’ll get a chance to shine on the court once again.

My expectations for Fears are high next season, just like for Izzo. Now I don’t think the comparisons to Cleaves are fair right now, but I do see glimpses of him in Fears’ game. It will be interesting to see what kind of player Fears is after the injury he suffered, but he could be in for a huge season if he can pick up from where he left off.