Youth movement will get Michigan State basketball back on track

Michigan State's Xavier Booker is introduced as part of the starting lineup before the game against
Michigan State's Xavier Booker is introduced as part of the starting lineup before the game against / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Michigan State basketball entered this past season with one of the most veteran teams in college hoops, trotting out fifth-year senior Malik Hall, Tyson Walker, AJ Hoggard, and Mady Sissoko in the starting lineup. Not many starting fives had that kind of experience, but many believed that it was only going to help the Spartans.

Unfortunately, the veteran lineup struggled at times and a couple of guys fell way short of expectations while Hall and Walker were left carrying the load.

We learned one thing: experienced doesn't always mean better.

Michigan State went from a top-five team in the country to limping into the NCAA Tournament as a 9-seed and nearly missing it thanks to a couple of horrendous home losses near the end of the regular season to Iowa and Ohio State.

The Spartans won their first-round game easily before running into 1-seed North Carolina who had its way with Michigan State after an early 12-point deficit. It was clear that Michigan State needed to hit the reset button this offseason and Tom Izzo alluded to that in his post-game interview, stating that he is going to get back to deep NCAA Tournament runs "or die trying".

What's going to help the Spartans get back on track, in my opinion, is this upcoming youth movement. First and second-year players are going to fill the roster with a few veterans sprinkled in and I think it'll be the start of a nice stretch for Izzo, getting the program back in the right direction.

The last time Michigan State had a youth movement like this was back in 2016-17 when Miles Bridges, Cassius Winston, Jeremy Langford, and Nick Ward led the team and they (Cassius, Langford, and Ward) ended up winning three straight Big Ten titles and the following classes complemented them nicely.

Now, Michigan State has Xavier Booker, Coen Carr, Jeremy Fears Jr., and Gehrig Normand heading into their second year with the program and Kur Teng, Jase Richardson, and Jesse McCulloch are coming in. This crop of young talent is complemented by Jaxon Kohler, Tre Holloman, Jaden Akins, Carson Cooper, and potentially Mady Sissoko. Add in a transfer big and/or wing and you have a roster that's going to compete with anyone.

Not only that, but it's built for the future, especially if Izzo lands yet another elite 2025 class which seems like it's going to happen.

I know it's been a rough stretch for Michigan State basketball, but I believe that this upcoming youth movement is going to get the program back on top.