Michigan State Basketball: A.J. Hoggard Starts, Makes Immediate Impact

Michigan State freshman point guard A.J. Hoggard made his first career-start against Nebraska and had an immediate impact.
Publish date:

Michigan State basketball desperately needed a spark entering Saturday night against Nebraska and couldn't afford a loss to the conference's weakest team.

Tom Izzo's decision to start freshman A.J. Hoggard at point guard and keep Rocket Watts on the bench provided it.

Hoggard turned out to be the change MSU was searching for; as he ran the offense, Michigan State looked sure of themselves.

You could see it, especially in the second half when the Spartans pulled ahead.

He finished with four points, dished out five assists, two blocks, forced a turnover, and threw two other passes, which led to free throws for teammates.

Additionally, Hoggard turned the ball over once in 23 minutes – a significant stat.

"He did a good job distributing the ball ... making plays, getting to the rim, and becoming available," junior guard Aaron Henry said. "He's very intelligent; he has a good feel for the game. The sky is the limit for him; he's only going to grow as a player."

The Pennsylvania native seems like Michigan State's best option at the one; at least he looked like it Saturday.

When Hoggard received some rest, the Cornhuskers made it interesting, shrinking the Spartans lead, yet the 20-year old came in and tossed it to Gabe Brown for a three-pointer after Nebraska closed in.

However, he's just one piece to the puzzle.

Eventually, Izzo will find a rotation that clicks.

And it most likely involves Watts alongside Hoggard rather than Joshua Langford, a veteran, who allows the freshman to find his comfort and rhythm before taking off in late stretches of the season.

Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1