In the early hours of Thanksgiving, The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn reported via Twitter that Michigan State basketball starting forward Malik Hall will miss Thursday night’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Phil Knight Invitational (PK85) and likely for “several weeks” .
Quinn also reported that key reserve guard Jaden Akins “sounds doubtful” for the Spartans’ PK85 opener after pinching his left foot against Villanova, the same foot that was surgically repaired last September.
Michigan State News.
Malik Hall is out for this week’s PK80 with a foot injury, according to a source. Probably missed several weeks. Big hit for a squad that lacks depth.
MSU could now be back with 2 starters against Alabama tomorrow. Jaden Akins (ankle) sounds doubtful.
— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) November 24, 2022
With Hall and Akins potentially absent, the Spartans will be sure to turn to second guard/forward Pierre Brooks as a starter against Alabama. Brooks has averaged six points and 15 minutes per game in the first four games of the 2022-2023 season. With Michigan State only promoting 10 fellows this season, the primary reserves are three true freshmen Tre Holloman, Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper.
I would also expect Jason Whitens, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward who was a walk-on transfer from West Michigan prior to the 2021-2022 season, to add significantly to his playing tenure. A native of the town of Powers on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Whitens was a WMU fellow from 2017-2021.
Whitens joined the Spartans last year but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear just over a minute after that first appearance in the exhibition game against Ferris State. He started 47 of the 68 games he appeared in for the Broncos and provided physicality on the wing.
The lack of depth and Michigan State’s decision not to add a transfer to the roster has been a much-discussed point this offseason. Head coach Tom Izzo took a calculated gamble to keep up with the roster, embracing continuity and team chemistry as elements of a successful team.
The Spartans will be tested over the next two weeks, with three games in the PK85 (MSU will face either UConn or Oregon after the Alabama game, third matchup could be one of a handful of teams), South Bend vs. Notre Dame on March 30 November, followed by the Big Ten Home’s opening game against Northwestern on December 4 and the first conference road game in Penn State on December 7.