Michigan State is very fortunate that much of this year’s roster decided not to try to go pro. That’s because Izzo put so much effort into recruiting Jabari Parker, an effort that bore no fruit, that he neglected getting any other recruits. Hence the 2013 recruiting results where the worst for Izzo and MSU in arguably his whole two decade tenure as coach. That’s the bad news, however the good news is that MSU is returning everyone but Nix from this years strong roster.
A college team, to do well, NEEDS three players scoring at a 13-18 ppg game clip to get the core 45-50 points that are the night in night out basis of TEAM scoring needs in the 65 to 75 ppg range winning teams require. On the surface Payne, Harris, and Appling coming back is huge, Huge, HUGE to the MSU cause in this regard. Any of these three amigos Payne/Harris/Appling could be considered the among MSU expected top scorers. But make no mistake, for these three in particular Center Nix will be missed, as all three of Payne/Harris/Appling, as well as the rest of the team, benefitted greatly from Nix’s in the paint presence.
Truth be told neither Payne, Harris or Appling are “go to” scorers with regard to being able to take their man one one one and create a score for themselves with any consistency. Once in a while, yes. But enough to maintain their ppg averages from this last year and carry the team in scoring, no. The number of perimeter shots created by the inside/out Nix indeed developed as a good “go to” threat for down low was critical to Izzo’s Class D UP scheme this last year. It was indeed Nix that opened up a lot of perimeter scoring for the three amigos and the rest of the team.
Next year’s team will be missing that key beefy big man in the paint scoring threat presence, and this will limit the easy perimeter shots and cause Izzo to necessarily change his offensive scheme and strategery. The likely change will be to 1) more running the floor, and 2) more halfcourt scoring off picks and plays than inside/out. That really opens up the field for scoring next year. It might be that more scoring will move to the Valentine like player who can create/penetrate and has the length to score, or Trice/Byrd type player who can score on picks and plays better. Or maybe even a Costello who can score from the outside or inside, being a less beefy but much more mobile Center option than Nix. And then will a Costello develop a signature down low scoring move such as the left/right power half hooks and drop step moves that made a slower less mobile Nix so effective?? Much is up in the air.
So will Payne, Harris and Appling be the likely scoring trio, or will the trio include other roster players. Vote for your top three scorers for next year and let’s let Real MSU Fans determine who the core trio of top scorers will be for MSU next year! Make sure you post who the three your voted for where in the comment section, and provide your justifications why those three will be the three. If you post Other make sure to list who they are!