What does the Szymon Zapala commitment mean for Michigan State basketball?

Longwood’s Szymon Zapala (12) passes the ball during open practices for 2024 NCAA Tournament teams
Longwood’s Szymon Zapala (12) passes the ball during open practices for 2024 NCAA Tournament teams / Chris Day/The Commercial Appeal / USA

Szymon Zapala is officially a Spartans. Yes, Michigan State basketball added a 7-footer to the roster and the outlook for 2024-25 might look a little different with some size and depth at the position.

Sure, Michigan State did lose Mady Sissoko to the portal this offseason so this may be a similar position to last season, but I'm choosing positivity today. Zapala has size that you can't teach and shot 63 percent from the floor while averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per game with Longwood this past season.

So what does this addition mean for Michigan State next season?

It means that the Spartans now have a third center that they can count on in the post and who actually has some decent back-to-the-basket moves. I expect Jaxon Kohler to be the starter with Carson Cooper as his backup, but Zapala will get minutes based on matchups.

Kohler isn't the best defender and Cooper is better on that end of the floor, but when there are guys like Oumar Ballo who require bigger bodies on the defensive end, Zapala would be the right option.

This also means that Tom Izzo trusts Kohler more than any other big on the roster and he expects the junior center to take a big jump this offseason. I think that's possible as he stays healthy. But it's clear that Izzo is putting all of his eggs in his returning centers' baskets.

If Izzo trusts Kohler to take that next step, we should probably expect him to make a big jump this offseason and be a double-digit scorer and a guy who can grab 6-8 rebounds per game.

This move tells me that Izzo likes his center rotation and didn't mind adding a third option.