Tom Izzo Confirms A.J. Hoggard is Leaving Michigan State

Michigan State men's basketball will have a new starting point guard next season, as A.J. Hoggard is leaving East Lansing.
March 21, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard A.J. Hoggard (11) with head coach
March 21, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard A.J. Hoggard (11) with head coach / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Not long after Michigan State lost in the NCAA Tournament, Spartans coach Tom Izzo indicated that point guard A.J. Hoggard wouldn’t return to the program next season.

Shortly after the season ended, the point guard agreed to play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. It was widely suspected that he would be turning pro, as the invitational usually only invites fourth-year players who traditionally are out of eligibility and turning pro. It was unclear what it meant for Hoggard, as he still has another year of eligibility remaining. 

Following confirmation of the point guard’s plans to play in the P.I.T., Izzo confirmed more definitively that Hoggard is leaving East Lansing. According to Izzo, the point guard is focused on playing professional basketball. It is just a matter of which league he will go to in the immediate future.

“A.J.’s looking to make a pro career,” Izzo said on the "Staudt On Sports" radio show on Wednesday. "But he could go back to college -- it wouldn't be here. We have some younger guys, and he has exhausted his, and he'll graduate. But I think he’d like to get into pro ball. Whether it be Europe, whether it be the G-League. But nowadays, everyone will look at college, too, depending on offers from different places.”

Izzo was far from surprised by Hoggard’s decision.

“A.J., I think, was set to go from the beginning,” he said.

Hoggard, the Spartans' starting point guard for the last two seasons, averaged nearly 11 points per game and five assists this past season. He was a vital piece of the Spartans’ offense. Still, Izzo is excited about the opportunity to replace Hoggard’s production as the coach understands how important a competent point guard is to a team’s success on the court. 

“I’m excited about our team,” Izzo said.” I think people are going to be surprised. When you get a quarterback, things fall into place.”

Since Hoggard still has a year of eligibility remaining, he has until the end of May to withdraw from the draft and return to college. However, should Hoggard decide to do so and play another year of college basketball, he’d need to enter the transfer portal by May 1 as he will not be returning to East Lansing, according to Izzo.  

“He could go back to college. It wouldn’t be here,” Izzo said.

Heading into next season, the Spartans will likely use the transfer portal to try to replace Hoggard’s production.

The Michigan State Spartan Football "Spring Showcase" will be held at the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation, Spartan Stadium, on April 20, 2024, at 2 p.m.

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Ezekiel Trezevant

EZEKIEL TREZEVANT

Ezekiel is a former Sports Editor from the Western Herald and former Atlanta Falcons beat writer.