Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans have a season of big expectations in front of them. Michigan State returns preseason All-Big Ten wing Denzel Valentine along with a ton of other experience. The Spartans are considered one of the favorites in the Big Ten, and Izzo is excited about what the future holds.
“This (season) is starting out exciting for me,” said Izzo. “I think we have a completely different team than most that I have had. I think it's one of our best shooting teams.”
The biggest reason for the excitement in East Lansing is the return of Valentine. The do it all wing averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists last season. Those numbers were second on the team in all categories, and Izzo thinks this year could be even better for his star.
“Denzel's had a heck of a summer, along with some other guys,” said Izzo.
Along with Valentine another reason for optimism is Eron Harris. Harris and Valentine are likely to be the starters on the wing for the Spartans and after sitting out last year due to transfer restrictions, Izzo is excited about what the former West Virginia Mountaineer can bring to the table.
“I think he'll fit in well. He can really shoot the ball,” said Izzo of Harris. “He's very athletic. I think the two things he had to work on is finding a shot he didn't like, that was one, and I think he's made some progress. And guarding somebody, and I think he's made some progress in that area.”
With the loss of senior leaders Travis Trice and Branden Dawson last season, Izzo knows the chemistry and versatility of the squad will be important if they are to make a deep run this season, and he feels that so far things are coming along well.
“We have good leadership and our chemistry has been great,” said Izzo. “The other thing we have is versatility. We can use Denzel as a small four man or we can go small so we have the ability to play two or three different ways.