Your Weekly Michigan State Basketball Q and A

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The Spartans look for a major rebound in 2011-2012.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

The Spartans look for a major rebound in 2011-2012. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Hey Hondo, I read that there are concerns with Russell Byrd. What is wrong and do you expect him back for the season? Sad to hear he has the same injury Grant Hill does. It would seem he would miss next season. Hopefully he can get a medical red shirt. Zack

Hi Zack, Russ isn’t having the progress that was hoped for this summer. His foot is broken. It IS NOT the same injury as Grant Hill has. Could it develop into that? Yes, but it is NOT that injury now. As far as a medical red shirt, if he were to have to sit out certainly that would be an option, but Byrd not playing in the 2011-2012 season is not in the cards as of now.

Do you think the MSU Women have a chance to repeat as champions with a completely new lineup? Mike

Mike, I do. Will it be difficult? For sure, but Suzy Merchant has her stamp on this team. She has a ton of talent on the roster and coming in. Now that Merchant has laid the foundation don’t count her out.

Mr. Hondo Carpenter Sr.,
This past season the offense didn't seem to jell. How much of that was the new "movement offense" that they implemented vs. running set plays? Do you think the movement will be better this year with more experience running it?
Thanks, Jim Harden

Jim, you saw last year a lot of talking about the movement, but then in critical times went back to the sets. I am not convinced that when crunch time hits that they stay with and don’t go back to sets. It is difficult for things to change. Let me give a great example. Tom Izzo is notorious for not wanting to use the zone. I think at times that dislike and not using it has hurt his teams, an opinion that I am not alone in sharing. When he started talking about using it some last season and even practiced it, it was humorous when the media actually asked his players if they expected to use it. Their answer said it all when they bluntly said no and they didn’t use it. Change is easy to talk about and hard to do.

Hondo, I really want to thank you for pointing out last week that the burden of this coming season doesn’t rest on Draymond. I was wondering with your Tweet this week about the brutal schedule again this season and Izzo’s complaints about last year, will he ever change? Al in Grand Rapids

No. I think that Tom collects Final Four banners like most people do extra pounds and I don’t think he has as many without his scheduling. How many times does he get to the tournament and face a team with an offense or defense his team hasn’t seen in the Big Ten but did in the Pre Season? A lot. I think there are times the brutality has gone too far, but it hasn’t kept them out of the dance and in the long run has helped.


I trust Izzo, but I have to ask about offering scholarships to guys so young. When you start going after freshman or guys heading into their sophomore year that just seems way early. There is so much room to get better or worse, isn’t it dangerous? Kyle in Dallas

Dangerous? For sure, but I don’t doubt Izzo on recruiting. If he offers, he knows what he sees.

Hondo, I loved the national radio tour. It was awesome to meet you and get a picture in Chicago. I was wondering about big men. It seems that we struggle developing them. What is your take? Izzo does great with guards and forwards, but we can’t get over the hump with big men. Michael

Michael, If I had one area on the court to be critical of with the program it would be the developing of big men. Paul Davis was a good one, but there were times you would see him away from the basket and not low and shake your head. Goran was a great one, but not a true big. He was the classic European player. I think Nix and Payne are two young men that this staff has something to prove with.

Hondo, I loved how you started giving more love to MSU ladies basketball. The Jasmine Hines interview on your radio show and then the article on the site really fired me up. How good can she be? Tiff Shives was an All American and didn’t do well. What is your opinion? Candy

Thanks for the kind words Candy. I love what Suzy is doing and frankly they have earned the coverage. I would say that Ms. Shives development has two sides. I don’t think the staff at MSU when she played here, helped her growing as a player. If she was here with Suzy the sky would be the limit. As far as Jasmine she has all the tools, all of them. The one thing I want to see from her is the passion when all around her are great players. I think she will rise to the challenge, but for the first time in her life she will be on a team and NOT be the best player next year. Will that drive her? I think so.

Thanks for all of the great comments and email for the new Friday column. If you aren’t aware, on Friday mornings I answer some of your email in a Q and A column about Spartan basketball. If you have a MSU basketball question you would like answered send me an email at