First, add the one thing MSU really needs, a point guard. Ever since Marcus Taylor ill-advised leap to pro basketball, Michigan State has desparately needed a replacement. No one thought it would take three years to get it done.
Enter Wyoming Park guard Drew Neitzel, a guard so accomplished he was one of only 40 prep players in the country to receive an invitation to the prestigious USABasketball team.
"It's just a great honor," said Neitzel to USA Basketball.com. "You look at all the past players who have been at just the Festival alone and it's great company. There are great players here and just to be a part of it and wear "USA" on my jersey is a great accomplishment."
Once he dons the "State" jersey, expects Neitzel to take charge.
While he may not start right away, he will take away big minutes from Alan Anderson at the point guard position, enabling Anderson to operate as a true small forward.
While senior-to-be Chris Hill will likely start at the off guard position, sophomore Shannon Brown will get plenty of time at that position, making the Spartans deeper and more athletic. Junior Maurcie Ager had better learn to hit a jump shot or he'll find himself logging more bench time in 2005.
Another freshman who'll get immediate playing time is Flint Beecher's 6' 7", 205-lb. Marquise Gray. Gray is a player in the mold of great Spartans physical rebounders of the past, like Antonio Smith and Alyosius Anagonye.
Gray will make the Spartans tougher and will team with a re-dedicated Paul Davis to give MSU more rebounding punch. The presence of Anderson in the front court ought to put MSU among the top rebounding teams in 2005.
Naymick must be more active, more physical and show the ability to score to get off what will become a very deep Spartan bench.
While Ockerman will always be a role player while splitting time playing minor league baseball, he has to figure out what he's going to add to the Spartans team. Is it rebounding, is it scoring off the bench?
6' 7" Matt Trannon, a football player who added some much needed toughness to a finesse team, has to learn to make free throws. His inability to do so was a key factor in some tough Spartan losses.
Trannon sets great picks, rebounds and does the dirty work --all reasons why Izzo found some playing time for him this year--but unless he can nail free throws, he's a liability late in games, something Izzo can't afford.
Incoming freshman Goran Suton of Lansing Everett, the school that produced Spartan great Magic Johnson, figures to get redshirted, but if he proves he can produce at the Big Ten level as a freshman, maybe not.
While the Spartans will be able to go ten players deep, there are no guarantees that Izzo will go that route. He'd rather have seven or eight productive players, than 10 or 11 guys just out on the floor.
One player clearly on the spot is senior to be Kelvin Torbert. No matter how you slice it, Torbert hasn't been the big scoring presence that was expected when he arrived in East Lansing. While he is willing to do the dirty work, at times he fails to show good basketball instincts and hasn't delivered at clutch time.
2004-05 will be put up or shut up for seniors to be Hill, Anderson and Torbert, but MSU will play Tom Izzo basketball with or without those seniors.
He won't field a finesse team in East Lansing ever again.