Michigan State coach Tom Izzo discusses the start of practice and the high expectations for the Spartans. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
East Lansing — There was a familiar face back on the court Tuesday when Michigan State went through its first practice for the 2019-20 season.
Senior guard Joshua Langford, who missed most of last season with a broken foot, was back on the court and ready to reinsert himself into the Spartans’ rotation as one of their most important players.
“He started practicing full-go couple weeks ago, which means he had contact cutting, jumping, doing all the things you've got to do,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “He's been good, but nowhere near where he was when he ended part of his career here last year when he got hurt.”
Langford played 13 games last season before suffering the injury. He eventually had surgery and has spent the offseason rehabbing his way back to 100 percent health.
Getting the veteran who has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range in his career will be critical for Michigan State.
“I think he'll be a big key because he's a two-way player that can play offense and play defense,” Izzo said. “He was playing some of his best basketball before he went down. We all know he's missed six or seven months. I don't think we're going to see the real Josh Langford in October, November, maybe even December. But I think as he grows, he'll get better and better, and that'll be critical.
“Confidence becomes a big part of this, and his confidence, he's a pretty confident kid. But he's going to want to get everything back overnight and that's probably not going to happen. I'm really pleased by the direction he's gone and how he handled it.”
While Langford’s progress will play out over the next couple of months, Izzo is hoping to get word soon on the status of forward Joey Hauser.
Hauser transferred from Marquette in the offseason with the understanding he would sit out one season. A waiver has been applied for to gain immediate eligibility for Hauser, but Izzo isn’t banking on getting the power forward for this season.
“There is a petition sent in, as there is for every kid who transfers,” Izzo said. “We knew when we got him that there's probably a slight, slim chance of him being eligible. He knew that when he transferred, we knew that when he transferred. We're still awaiting some decisions on it, but as I've said before, I think that is a long shot.”
Michigan State will play Gonzaga in a scrimmage Oct. 19 in Denver, a source close confirmed with The Detroit News.
The teams played each other in a scrimmage last year in Minneapolis. Teams are allowed to play another Division I team in a scrimmage, but they are closed to the public and the media and can’t be promoted by the schools.