MSU Basketball: Tom Izzo on Rocket Watts Entering the Portal

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said he and Rocket Watts "mutually agreed that he may benefit from a fresh start elsewhere and is putting his name in the transfer portal."
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EAST LANSING – Sophomore guard Rocket Watts entered the transfer portal Monday afternoon.

In some ways, it was surprising, and in others, not so much.

The Spartans brought in transfer point guard Tyson Walker from Northeastern, giving Michigan State its floor general.

Add in a freshmen trio including Max Christie, Jaden Akins, and Pierre Brooks II, and MSU has some serious talent in its backcourt.

"In preparation for last season, we had asked Rocket to take on a new role. It's the type of position change where a spring, summer, and fall of practice would have been extremely beneficial for him," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "Unfortunately, the pandemic created circumstances beyond anyone's control. As a result, he didn't get the necessary practice time, which put him in a difficult and challenging situation.

"After several discussions over the past week, we mutually agreed that he may benefit from a fresh start elsewhere and is putting his name in the transfer portal. Rocket has made progress in all facets of his life, especially making tremendous strides academically. We appreciate the contributions he's made over the last two years and wish Rocket nothing but the best in his future. He'll always be part of the Spartan Family."

Watts struggled to run the offense, especially in conference play, and ultimately being asked to fill Cassius Winston's shoes was overwhelming for a guard whose primary skill is scoring the basketball.

Perhaps now, the Detroit native will find a new home in a system that suits his play style. Context means everything, and in this case, his departure makes sense for him and Michigan State.

"Where do I start…It has been an amazing 2 years at MSU," Watts wrote via Twitter. "I will forever appreciate you guys for welcoming me with open arms. I valued each and every group of people here, from the fans to the community. From the mentors to the faculty members, words can't express how appreciative I am for you folks. You guys have completed an enormous task by helping me make educated decisions day by day. Without proper grades, there is no basketball, and you guys ensured that I was on top of the job. For the athletic trainers, I'm forever indebted to you because of the insane amount of time you all put into helping me recuperate game by game. I cannot thank you enough. Coaching staff, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you investing your time into me. It's been an amazing experience from beginning to end. You all are role models and live as an example of how to persevere in difficulty. Spartan Dawgs, my love remains forever no matter the circumstances."

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