Michigan State’s Izzo says a few players could enter draft

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said “a bunch of guys” in college basketball are putting their names in the NBA draft.

“I think that’s the popular thing to do,” Izzo said Wednesday.

A few Spartans may join the trend, declaring themselves eligible to at least be evaluated for the draft with an opportunity to withdrawal from it in June, he said.

“Jaden (Akins) could,” Izzo said. “ (A.J.) Hoggard and Tyson (Walker) could. Guys could put their names in and see where they’re at. That’s the next thing to deal with, and it seems to be more common now. We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.”

If all three of the Spartans’ standout guards return, Izzo will have a talented and experienced team that will get a boost from one of the top recruiting classes that includes a pair of McDonald’s All-America selections.

“We got something to celebrate,” Izzo said.

Recently, Walker and forward Malik Hall announced plans to come back for a fifth season. Izzo said Hall had foot surgery after being hobbled for much of last season.

Walker, Hoggard and Akins helped Izzo become the first coach to earn 25 straight bids to the NCAA Tournament this year. Izzo advanced to his 15th Sweet 16, winning a record 16th March Madness game with a lower-seeded team before being eliminated by Kansas State in overtime.

The Hall of Fame coach won the 2000 national championship and reached the Final Four for the eighth time in 2019.

Izzo seems set up to have a chance to add to both totals next season.

Five of his top six scorers are back — potentially at least — and a few reserves return along with highly-touted freshmen Xavier Booker and Jeremy Fears.

“Pretty solid group coming back with a great group of recruits coming in,” Izzo said. “There is a lot of optimism.”


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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