Bob Wojnowski, Angelique S. Chengelis and Matt Charboneau preview the UM-Penn State and MSU-Maryland games. The Detroit News, The Detroit News
East Lansing — Football is still the most popular topic in early November, but basketball is quickly jumping on the radar for Michigan State fans.
With the Spartans headed to Maryland this week, some are wondering about the mindset of the Terrapins while others are curious about how much sophomore cornerback Josiah Scott might play.
On the hardwood, the commitment of four-star forward Malik Hall has fans thinking big when it comes to the 2019 class, and who might be the next to choose MSU.
We tackle all those topics in this week’s mailbag.
►Question. Will Josiah Scott definitely play this Saturday? Is Tyriq Thompson permanently the starter over Randle? — @SpartyH
►Answer. It sure sounds like Scott will be on the field. Mark Dantonio has said as much and after getting his first-half suspension out of the way last week — odd, considering he didn’t play — he’s free to play at any point moving forward. How much he’ll play is probably the bigger question. Don’t expect him to start or play a huge number of snaps, considering Dantonio has continually reminded us that it takes time to get back into playing shape. But he’s gonna see some snaps, to be sure. I’d guess something like 15 snaps or so to get his feet wet again. That might not take long, according to Justin Layne, who said last week Scott looked last week like he’d never missed any time. As for holding his redshirt, expect Scott to not play in one more game — there are four games remaining plus a likely bowl. I’d say Rutgers is a likely candidate, but we’ll have to see how things play out.
As for Thompson, he’s been the starter every week except Arizona State when he didn’t make the trip. So, really, he already was. It doesn’t change the rotation much, as Brandon Bouyer-Randle will still get a ton of work rushing the passer. It was more of a clerical thing that doesn’t really have any impact on playing time.
►Q. Is Dave Warner actually there on weekdays? This stems from the statement he made saying he thought Lewerke practiced all week, then Coach D contradicting him and saying Lewerke didn’t practice. Does Warner go to practice? — @RealKyleHoward
►A. I included this because we can’t go through a week without a little bashing of the co-offensive coordinator, right? I thought we covered this, but the whole confusion over Lewerke practicing or not TWO weeks ago was pretty simple. Dantonio doesn’t like to release any information about injured players and considering Lewerke did practice but did not throw, Warner followed the plan and said he practiced. Dantonio, of course, said he didn’t but later said Lewerke did practice; he just didn’t throw. So, we’re done with that — I hope.
►Q. Is Maryland going to be a basketcase team on Saturday? Or in some strange way are they going to play their best ball? — @DavidJa88692244
►A. I would have said the Terrapins would be a mess. And then Wednesday happened, and the university came to its senses and decided it couldn’t move forward with coach D.J. Durkin. So, who knows? That’s not a very clear answer, but this one is tough to gauge. Maybe they’re spent simply from how tumultuous the entire week was. I think the bigger issue is the fact Maryland’s offense is one-dimensional and plays right into Michigan State’s strengths. So, regardless of emotion, I don’t think the Terps are gonna score a whole lot, much like two weeks ago when they were shut out by Iowa.
►Q. How is Aaron Henry not starting? — @Loomin_Knotty
►A. Michigan State hasn’t even played a real game yet and we’re already nit-picking the lineup? Look, I love the way Henry has looked and I think he’s gonna be a fan-favorite real fast. But let’s get into the season a little bit before we start freaking out over the rotation. Maybe he starts at some point, but over who? Even with some shooting struggles I don’t see Joshua Langford not starting, so I guess I could see them bringing Matt McQuaid off the bench. We’ll see. There could be a few different combinations through the first handful of game.
►Q. Malik Hall commitment brings available scholarships down to 1 for next year (2 if Ward leaves). Who gets them — Isaiah Stewart, Vernon Carey, or Harlond Beverly? — @KevinBacon_Jr
Who’s the most likely next commit for MSU basketball now that Malik Hall has given his verbal? Is there a potential recruit (who plays a similar position) that will now back off of MSU because of his commitment? — @SpartyH
►A. I included both questions because, while they cover the same topic, the answer varies a bit when it comes to who might be next for the Spartans. Yes, there is technically one scholarship left for next season after Hall joined Rocket Watts as commitments for 2019. But I have a hard time seeing Nick Ward stick around for a fourth season, and you never know who might transfer out if they’re not getting the playing time they want. But for now, I’m assuming there will be two more open scholarships.
Who else is coming? That is the big question. Carey and Stewart are clearly at the top of the list, and Michigan State is in good shape with both. Some even believe MSU is the leader for both. Could two bigs ranked in the top five in the nation both commit? Sure, but I’m not banking on it. The best bet is one of them chooses Michigan State and then it comes down to possibly adding a fourth prospect. I think Beverly would love to be that guy, but MSU isn’t giving up on five-star Keion Brooks. The Hall commitment might affect that and Brooks seems to be leaning toward Indiana, but Michigan State has recruited him forever and is one of Brooks’ finalists.
John Niyo, James Hawkins and Matt Charboneau preview the Michigan State and Michigan college basketball seasons. The Detroit News, The Detroit News