What position does Tom Izzo need to prioritize in the transfer portal?

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play against North Carolina during the second half of
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play against North Carolina during the second half of / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tom Izzo is facing one of the biggest offseasons of his entire career. He's fresh off a fourth straight disappointing season which featured a run that was cut short of the second weekend.

The Spartans began the 2023-24 season ranked No. 4 in the country but that was immediately put into question with a home loss to James Madison in the opener. They would then lose a few more games, sitting at 4-5 before finally getting on track against the likes of Baylor, Indiana State, and Oakland.

Michigan State limped into another NCAA Tournament (Izzo's 26th straight) but it didn't feel great to barely get in yet again. The days of not sweating on Selection Sunday and earning a top four seed feel like a distant memory, but Izzo vowed after the second-round loss to North Carolina that he's going to do whatever it takes to get MSU back to deep runs in March "or die trying".

That would require him to swallow his pride and hit the transfer portal.

While he has been outspoken about his disdain for the portal, he has had success while using it with guys like Joey Hauser and Tyson Walker and there will be some big names on the market this offseason. He will have to at least snag one player from the portal to really get fans to buy in again.

So what position should he make a top priority with guys like Walker, Malik Hall, AJ Hoggard, and Mady Sissoko departing? It's a good question, but I would have to go with the center spot.

Easily the biggest let-down position this season was the center spot with Sissoko, Jaxon Kohler (foot injury to start the year), and Carson Cooper underwhelming, but a 10-point, 8-rebound per game center could have been the difference between this team making a Final Four run and finishing the season strong and getting bounced in round two. It was that important.

While I think adding a wing should be important, too, I believe that a true post-scoring threat at center is important, especially for the growth of Xavier Booker as a four.

So if Izzo is going to hit the portal, I'd say a starting-caliber center would be his top priority followed by a wing who could help move Jaden Akins over to the two-guard spot.

Why not both?