In the early hours of Thanksgiving, The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn reported via Twitter that Michigan State men’s basketball starting forward Malik Hall will miss Thursday night’s game versus the Alabama Crimson Tide in the the Phil Knight Invitational (PK85) and is likely to be out for “ multiple weeks.”
Quinn also reported key reserve guard Jaden Akins “is sounding doubtful” for the Spartans’ opening PK85 game after tweaking his left foot against Villanova, the same foot that was surgically repaired this past September.
News on Michigan State.
Malik Hall is out for this week’s PK80 with a foot injury, per a source. Likely to miss multiple weeks. Serious blow for a roster lacking depth.
MSU could now be down 2 starters vs. Alabama tomorrow. Jaden Akins (ankle) is sounding doubtful.
— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) November 24, 2022
With the potential absence of both Hall and Akins, the Spartans will assuredly turn to sophomore guard/forward Pierre Brooks as the starter against Alabama. Brooks has averaged six points and 15 minutes per game through the first four games of the 2022-2023 season. As Michigan State is only carrying 10 scholarship players this season, the primary reserves are the three true freshman, Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper.
I would also anticipate Jason Whitens, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward who was a walk-on transfer from Western Michigan prior to the 2021-2022 season, to see his playing time extended significantly. Whitens hails from the Upper Peninsula town of Powers, Michigan, and was a scholarship player at WMU from 2017-2021.
Whitens joined the Spartans last year, but suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) just over a minute into this first appearance in the exhibition game against Ferris State. He started in 47 of the 68 games he appeared in for the Broncos, providing physicality at the wing.
Michigan State’s lack of depth and decision to not add a transfer to the squad was a point of much discussion this offseason. Head coach Tom Izzo took a calculated gamble to stand pat with the roster, embracing continuity and team chemistry as elements for a successful team.
The Spartans shall be tested over the next two weeks, with three games in the PK85 (MSU will face either UConn or Oregon after the Alabama game, the third matchup could be one of a handful of teams), at South Bend to face Notre Dame on Nov. 30, followed by the Big Ten Home opener against Northwestern on Dec. 4, and then the first conference road game at Penn State on Dec. 7.