Michigan State, Tom Izzo Believe Sky is the Limit For C Xavier Booker

With his freshman season behind him, high expectations will be placed on Michigan State men's basketball center Xavier Booker next season.
Michigan State's Xavier Booker, left, dunks and is fouled by Ohio State's Scotty Middleton during the second half on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Michigan State's Xavier Booker, left, dunks and is fouled by Ohio State's Scotty Middleton during the second half on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Of any player on Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo's roster, arguably none has the potential of sophomore center Xavier Booker.

Booker, who comes off his first collegiate season, is a stretch-five who embodies what the new era of big men has become in the game of basketball. As the former No. 1 recruit in the state of Indiana gears up for his second season, all eyes will be on Booker as Spartan Nation anticipates him to take that next step.

Booker's teammate Carson Cooper talked about Booker's potential when he recently joined "The Spiro Avenue Show."

"I know he's [Booker] feeling really good," Cooper said. "It's kind of the same thing, like you're seeing that in the open gyms, too. And I mean, even coach said it today in our meeting that he might be up there with having the most potential that has ever came through MSU. Like up there with Jaren Jackson and all that. So, coach saying that to Book definitely helps him with being able to kind of build up, build that confidence, have a voice -- is a big thing -- and just get more physical, and then, ultimately, just also be efficient. And I think he's ready for that, and he's been grinding so far this week about getting better at what he's really good at."

Cooper acknowledged the glimpses from last season that previewed just how could Booker could be when he decides to take over.

"You see flashes of that -- I'd say probably in the Big Ten Tournament last year he kind of came alive and people kind of got excited because you could see flashes of what he can be," Cooper said. "I mean, even his measurables are crazy. He has everything that makes him a pro, right? So, for him being able to ... open up, let loose, just play his game and not -- he's not a freshman anymore, so he doesn't have to worry about, 'OK, I'm a freshman, I'm not supposed to be doing this and this. I don't have to be worried about doing too much.' So, for him, he's -- like even talking to him for a little bit -- he's definitely more open and his mind is definitely in a good place with what his expectations are and how he fits in with the team."

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Aidan Champion

AIDAN CHAMPION