Analyzing the roster
G Travis Trice, sr.
Trice’s senior season already was a special one and well beyond the outside expectations when he signed with MSU as a lightly regarded recruit in 2012. But his NCAA tournament was one of the best in Tom Izzo and MSU history. His shooting, passing and leadership will be missed.
F Branden Dawson, sr.
After three up-and-down seasons, hampered by injury, Dawson altered his legacy in a positive way with a mostly outstanding senior season. He never became a consistent offensive player, but Dawson’s rebounding and defensive versatility will not easily be replaced.
G Denzel Valentine, jr.
Valentine is already better than many thought he could be, and if he has another offseason like the last one, he should be a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate as a senior. He’s also MSU’s unquestioned leader. MSU is looking for a Draymond Green senior season from him.
C Matt Costello, jr.
Costello likely needs some minor knee surgery in the offseason, and then it’s a big few months for him as he tries to work toward a successful finale. Costello has the potential to be a double-digit scorer, and to do more of it from the outside. He’s already a good defender and rebounder.
G Bryn Forbes, jr.
Forbes is going to have to fight for minutes, even with Trice leaving, because reinforcements are coming on the perimeter. But the way his season ended suggests he could be a key piece as a senior. There’s no questioning the purity of his jump shot. His defense is improving. He should do more with the ball.
F/C Colby Wollenman, jr.
Wollenman was one of MSU’s best individual stories, an aspiring doctor and walk-on who carved out a role and gave some very important minutes when MSU got in foul trouble. His effort in a comeback win against Purdue was the highlight. And he’s a good guy to have in the locker room.
C Gavin Schilling, so.
The Spartans need another big step from Schilling, who improved markedly from his freshman season but got into needless foul trouble far too often this season. His offensive confidence also hit a lull late in the season after a promising start. His quick feet and strong body are assets.
G Alvin Ellis, so.
You look at the numbers and the players coming in and have to wonder if Ellis might look for another destination for his final two seasons of eligibility. He hasn’t said as much and he came on late in the season, but he still has to raise his game a couple notches to earn consistent minutes.
G Lourawls (Tum Tum) Nairn, fr.
To the outside world, he’s a good defender and quick player with very little scoring ability. Inside the MSU locker room, he’s already one of the most important players on the team. Given what is known about Nairn’s attitude and desire, expect him to be much better at everything as a sophomore.
F Marvin Clark Jr., fr.
MSU intended to redshirt Clark and probably would have if not for Javon Bess’ foot problems, but he ended up being a key role player in the postseason. And considering how big, athletic and skilled he is, he could end up being a reliable scorer at power forward next season.
G/F Javon Bess, fr.
Bess was easily the freshman most likely to contribute this season before suffering a broken foot. He came back briefly and showed why in glimpses, but ultimately couldn’t get healthy. If he can get there in the offseason, this is a guy who can play multiple positions and help in a variety of ways.
F Kenny Goins, fr.
A preferred walk-on who helped MSU’s scout team this season, Goins is a bit undersized as a 6-6 post player, but he’ll be active and add depth if MSU needs it next season. He plays hard and has upside but needs to keep developing his skill.
G Eron Harris, jr.
Harris sat out this season after averaging 17.2 points a game as a sophomore at West Virginia in 2013-14. He was a terror for the MSU scout team and will play some point guard and some shooting guard next season. He can be one of the best drivers and defenders in the Big Ten.
F Deyonta Davis, incoming fr.
If Davis has a good summer of working on his game and his body, he has a chance to start at power forward for the Spartans next season. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’s going to play. He’s a high-flying shot blocker with nice touch on his jump shot.
G Kyle Ahrens, incoming fr.
Some schools backed off Ahrens after a broken leg, but the Spartans stayed with him and have been high on his upside all along. He’s athletic and defensive-minded, with the ability to get to the basket. He’ll be in the mix for playing time right away, though it won’t be easy.
G Matt McQuaid, incoming fr.
Tom Izzo opted for McQuaid, a bomber with deep range from Duncanville, Texas, over Saginaw’s Eric Davis among others. McQuaid also has athleticism to go with the jump shot, but he needs to increase his size and strength. Another contender for a role.