As if the Michigan State men’s basketball team needed any more help.
The Spartans have a star, with the return of sophomore Miles Bridges after flirting with the NBA draft following his freshman season. They have a potential freshman phenom in Jaren Jackson Jr. They have plenty of depth, and now they have plenty of size, too.
MSU, a popular preseason pick to reach the Final Four, might have a breakout candidate in the fold, too.
Sophomore guard Joshua Langford is one of 11 players CBS Sports writes are potential breakout players for the upcoming season, along with Michigan senior Duncan Robinson. CBS Sports’ “stipulations” include that the player “must have been at the NCAA level last season, averaged less than 8 points per game, and played less than 22 minutes per contest in 2016-17.”
The 6-foot-5 Langford averaged 6.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 21 minutes, starting 27 of 35 games while opening the season slowly, in part, because of a hamstring injury. Langford also shot 41.6 percent from 3-point range.
“I could make the case here for any number of Michigan State’s returning sophomores,” Kyle Boone of CBS Sports writes, “but Josh Langford, a plus defender and efficient scorer, seems destined to be the breakout player not already on your radar.
“ ... A lack of consistency stunted his playing time unlike (classmates) Cassius Winston or Nick Ward. So with Alvin Ellis having expired his eligibility, Langford now steps into the primary role at small forward this season where his perimeter scoring will open up driving lanes for Miles Bridges and keep defenses honest.”
Robinson, meanwhile, saw his numbers drop in his second season in Ann Arbor. After starting 27 of 36 games in his first season at Michigan after transferring from Division III Williams College, when he averaged 11.2 points and shot 45 percent from 3-point range, Robinson started just three of his 38 games played last season. He averaged 7.7 points and shot 42.4 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 8.8 fewer minutes per game.
Boone sees a return to form for Robinson.
“ ... The Wolverines are equipped to reload (after a run to the Sweet 16),” Boone writes, “thanks largely due to the expected re-emergence of Duncan Robinson.
“Robinson played in the shadows last season behind the uber-talented Zak Irvin, but he’s thrived once before in Michigan’s system. ... The departure of Irvin should open up a wealth of opportunities for Robinson, and he appears slated to cash in on that newfound opening in the frontcourt.”