R I fucking P to maybe the most improved player that Tom Izzo has ever gotten his hands on. Xavier Tillman announced today that he will be staying in the draft and honestly it is probably the right decision. Obviously I would have loved to have him back in EL for one more year, who wouldn't want an all conference guy on their team, but for Tillman, his family, and maybe even the growth of the program him going is the right decision. As far as his NBA career goes, I cannot wait until he gets picked up late 1st by a contending team and does exactly what he did at MSU. Comes in completely written off and disregarded, and slowly, over time, shows of that Spartan Dawg attitude, and work ethic he has and earns a spot in a team's rotation. I must say though, I am quite sad that he wont be here to completely stifle Luka Garza and enrage the entire state of Iowa one last time, nothing beats Fran McCaffrey being pissed off about his team being horrible at defense but taking it out on the refs, classic stuff.
Positive draft news for MSU: Aaron Henry said he is going to come back to MSU for what is assumed to be his third and final year in the green and white. Again, right decision for him, and a positive impact decision for MSU and the program. As far as Henny is concerned right now he should be making like Kobe (RIP) and getting up a thousand jump shots a day. Believe it or not, I am not exactly sure what NBA scouts told him, but I am extremely well connected and am also smart beyond my wildest dreams so I have a feeling his biggest downside in the pros was his inconsistent outside game. It's well known he's an athletic freak, hes long, he defends, he can get to the rip explosively, he is good and finding the open man after he penetrates, but the one thing he struggles with is stepping into, and hitting three balls on a regular basis. Gotta believe he is gonna do everything he can to be coming with a strap next year and it is big time for this team.
The reason I said Tillman leaving, although he would maybe be our best player if he returned, is because we have so many bigs waiting in the wings that it'll be great for them to start growing and getting better and honestly 2 of them I believe are capable of playing to a level where suddenly we don't miss X all that much. Hauser, Sissoko, Kithier, Marble, Hall, and Bingham will all be chomping at the bit for that time. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hauser will be the 4 and he is going to be at a level where he enters the draft at the end of next year, so nothing to worry about there. The 5 is where the conversation starts, and here is my (kind of) hot take: I think we are going to be totally okay. I think Hauser & Hall will handle the duties of the 4 and they are gonna be great, and at the 5 between Sissoko, Kithier, Marble, and Bingham; someone is going to have to break through. Between those guys there is too much potential there to not have one of them step into the role and seize the opportunity and honestly I believe that is exactly what Mady Sissoko is gonna do. Sure, he may start the season off slowly, have those classic freshman mistakes, but by the end I truly believe Sissoko will be capable of getting to a level where he is damn near replacing Tillman without a beat, leadership aside. Number 1, the guys a fucking freak. His wingspan is like 10 feet long, he looks like hes 7 foot, hes jacked out of his mind, and he is pretty athletic. I think on the defensive end, which is where X really made his money, Sissoko is going to become a poor mans, or maybe even average mans Jaren Jackson. I see him turning into a good shot blocker who becomes a guy that is able to shut down a Luka Garza, or Kofi Cockburn for a night. Offensively is where he will have his work cut out for him, but like I said we will have Hauser (NBA level big man talent) to provide enough offense for the both of them.
I'll dive in more on my podcast tonight but morale of the story is: if you love something you have to let it go and that is what's happening with X. Wish him nothing but the best and I cannot wait to watch both him and Cassius make their marks in the league. Henny is coming back and all that means is we got one more big piece for the 4 peat. With Henry I still believe we are the team to beat in the B1G and I am sure that's what guys like Izzo and Rocket Watts are thinking too. Cannot wait for this season, assuming it happens (I am praying), and as always, Go Green.