Derrick Nix will graduate, leaving a massive void in the paint for Michigan State. Sparty was able to dominate most teams in the paint with their massive duo of Nix and Adreian Payne. Both Nix and Payne have grown tremendously under Tom Izzo, becoming big time players this year.
While Payne is a junior, he is considering leaving early for the NBA. He has not made a decision yet, according to M-Live, Izzo has been campaigning for the 6-foot-10 big man to stick around for his senior season.
The potential Payne and Nix losses will definitely hurt the Spartans inside moving forward, putting them back at square one.
When you move out to the perimeter, there could be even more losses. Starting guards Kieth Appling, a junior, and Gary Harris, a freshman, are both looking in to entering the NBA Draft. Appling has shown throughout the year bits and pieces of promise. He is not a high-end NBA pick, but would still be wise to make the jump to the next level.
Harris is a top-tier NBA prospect heading in to the draft this summer. The big-time freshman drew big attention before he even hit campus, with his great high school highlights from Indiana. As a freshman, Harris showed he can score the basketball, averaging 13 points a game. He showed a relatively mature jump shot, making 41 percent of his 3-pointers.
Harris also showed a poise that is not often seen in a freshman, being a big part of Michigan State’s successful year.
This is the reality for major college basketball programs. Top programs get the top talent, but the top talent does not tend to stay in college for long. The Spartans can look at their in-state rivals, Michigan, who will likely lose three players to the draft early in Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III.
However, if some combination of Payne, Nix and Harris decide to stay, the Spartans would be loaded, along with Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine.
For Michigan State, it is a wait and see game, for who’s going to be on the team next year.