Practices have started back up for Michigan State basketball and that usually means we get some good nuggets about the team from the coaching staff or media members.
Most of the time it’s just hype from biased sources, but Tom Izzo has been as hard on his players as anyone and isn’t the kind of coach who normally hypes up his guys before they even see the court.
Well, he’s done just that with Gabe Brown during his appearance on 97.1 radio and he also spent time talking about Pierre Brooks being one of the best shooters on the team and some AJ Hoggard praise as well.
In fact, he talked about how much work Hoggard has put in to get in good shape since getting to campus last summer.
He’s lost a whopping 33 pounds.
If that’s the case, his recruiting profile on 247Sports which listed him at 6-3 and 185 pounds is more than likely incorrect. His Michigan State player profile lists him at 220 pounds which was probably the more accurate weight. And if he’s lost 33 pounds since last summer, he’s probably in the low-200 range or maybe even in the 190s.
Let’s be fair to AJ, he wasn’t ever “fat” but he may have been in the same boat as a guy like Xavier Tillman who came to MSU not in the best shape but is slowly molding his body to be able to hang with the Big Ten bodies and play big minutes.
This is a good sign.
Michigan State basketball will benefit from Hoggard’s work ethic
Working hard to get in better shape is tough for some former blue-chip recruits because they probably believe that they don’t need to work on their bodies because no one has ever told them to before.
Hoggard came to Michigan State as a combo guard and struggled a bit with his shot, but if he’s putting in all this work to get in better shape and it’s paying off, just imagine what will happen when he focuses on improving that shot. Even if he improves his shooting percentage by 10 percent, he will be a much better player.
Plus, he won’t have to run the point as much and he can work on his overall offensive game. He can play the one or the two and if he’s quicker and slimmer, he’s going to be able to cut to the hoop with ease compared to last season when he had to use his thick frame to bully defenders.
We could see a big jump from Hoggard in 2021-22.