Syracuse graduate transfer target Andrew White has decided to visit Michigan State before making a decision on where he will finish his college career. While the Spartans are certainly a big name program with a hall of fame head coach, when looking at the roster, the Orange appears to be the better fit for White.
The reason is simple. Playing time. Syracuse has plenty of it. They need a wing scorer with length and elite outside shooting. White provides that. With the loss of Malachi Richardson to the NBA, that role is there for the taking. It means 30-plus minutes per game for White should he decide to don the Orange uniform.
At Michigan State? There's seems to be a larger crowd at his position.
White can play small forward or shooting guard, two positions of strength for Michigan State. Just take a look at their recruiting in recent years. It has created a log-jam of sorts. One that has actually caused two wings to transfer during the offseason.
Included in their 2016 class are two five-star wings. Miles Bridges and Josh Langford. Both should play significant minutes at a minimum, if not start. Bridges, at a minimum, seems to be a safe bet to crack the starting lineup.
Those are not the only two wings on the Spartans roster however. The 2015 class featured four-star prospects Matt McQuaid and Kyle Ahrens. McQuad played over 15 minutes per game last season and is slated to take on an even bigger role this year.
The previous two cycles featured wings Marvin Clark, Javon Bess and Alvin Ellis. All played over 30 games last season and were highly regarded recruits. Bess and Clark have transferred, but Ellis is still there and ready for larger roles.
That doesn't even take into account West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, who played over 20 minutes per game last season while averaging over nine points.
That is a total of five wings on the roster without White. The addition of White would bring that total to six, creating quite a log-jam of players that will be in the rotation.
To add another layer to White looking at Michigan State as an option, the fact that he is even visiting seems to contradict comments made by head coach Tom Izzo back in April.
From an article on MLive.com:
Izzo spoke out against the practice of players transferring within the Big Ten this week, saying it creates "animosity."
"If you transfer within the league, people say we shouldn't be able to tell guys where to go, but when you start getting transfers within a league, the animosity, the hatred, the stories, it's difficult," Izzo said this week on WVFN in Lansing.
Make no mistake, White is an extremely talented basketball player who will have an impact wherever he decides. But playing at Michigan State means being part of a large rotation with a seemingly smaller individual role and fewer minutes.
At Syracuse, his path to a larger role seems more prevalent and available. He would start with the Orange and would likely have to come off the bench with the Spartans.
To take it another step, it could be argued that comparing each roster with White, Syracuse has the more complete team. They would have everything you need to be a force both during the regular season and in March. They would have size and length at every position, outside shooting, the ability to attack the rim, to play in transition and in the half-court, a stellar defense, a rim protector and a dynamic offense that can attack opponents in a variety of ways.
Syracuse has Tyler Lydon and Tyus Battle as players who are likely to play the wing. Lydon can also play power forward, leaving even more minutes at the three. White would be able to split minutes at both spots, giving the opportunity for substantial minutes and a critical role. In fact, he could lead the Orange in scoring while being their best outside shooting threat.
Both teams will be good without White. Both programs have talent year in and year out. That's why they are two of the best in the country.
But if White wants playing time, a large role to showcase his abilities and improve his draft stock, and a chance to win big, Syracuse may be the better choice.
Syracuse also has recent draft history on their side. In recent years, players like Wes Johnson, Malachi Richardson, Dion Waiters, Michael Gbinije and others have been selected in the NBA Draft as shooting guards or small forwards. That has to be attractive for a player like White.
He could be the piece that puts Syracuse on a path towards a second consecutive Final Four Run.