Michigan State basketball’s Jack Hoiberg enters NCAA transfer portal
Michigan Statebasketball walk-on Jack Hoiberg entered the transfer portal on Wednesday.
The fourth-year junior, who received an open scholarship to this winter, is the first Spartan this season — but perhaps not the last — to enter the portal that was created by the NCAA in October 2018.
Hoiberg received some key minutes late in the season, including a critical 7 minutes in the March 7 upset of then-No. 2 Michigan in which the 5-foot-11, 170-pound guard was a plus-10 and had an assist. He scored seven points with five assists and three rebounds in 14 appearances this season.
The son of Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg made one career start, against his father’s Cornhuskers, in 2020, over his 42-game MSU career. Jack Hoiberg opted to join Tom Izzo’s program as a walk-on in 2018 rather than take a golf scholarship to South Dakota, and it is unclear if he plans to pursue basketball or golf at another school.
Hoiberg is the second MSU player to enter the transfer portal since it was created. Braden Burke left last year and landed at CMU, then opted out of the rest of the 2020-21 season in January after playing in four games this winter.
And Hoiberg might not be the last to do so this spring, either, because the Spartans are in a numbers crunch with scholarships going into 2021-22.
MSU currently has 11 players on scholarship after Hoiberg’s decision. That means there are only two open scholarships at the moment for the three-player incoming class of Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks II and Max Christie.
Along with Hoiberg’s scholarship, which was only for this school year after Xavier Tillman left early for the NBA, MSU will get one more back from departing Joshua Langford. The fifth-year senior said after the Spartans’ 86-80 NCAA tournament loss to UCLA that he does not plan to return to MSU for a sixth season, though his scholarship would not have counted against the Division I limit of 13 next season with COVID-19 eligibility extension rules.
The third needed scholarship is expected to come open by junior Aaron Henry entering the NBA draft after withdrawing his name before last season. Adding anyone beyond the three incoming freshmen would mean someone else on Izzo’s roster beyond Henry and Hoiberg would need to leave the program.
Northeastern point guard Tyson Walker on Wednesday reportedly whittled his finalists down to six schools, including MSU. The 6-foot sophomore averaged 18.8 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game and is a finalist for the Lou Henson Award, which will be given April 1 to the top mid-major player in college basketball.
Walker, a sophomore who would have three years of eligibility with the extra COVID-19 season, told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman he planned to make his decision this weekend. He would be required to sit out 2021-22 under current transfer rules, however the NCAA’s Division I Council is expected to approve a one-season proposal allowing transfers immediate eligibility without restrictions for next season when it meets in April after the Final Four.
More:Michigan State basketball’s Joshua Langford atones for late mistakes vs. U-M; Jack Hoiberg helps out
MSU also reportedly has reached out to Penn State big man John Harrar and Indiana guard Aljami Durham, both of whom are in the transfer portal along with Walker. Harrar and Durham are expected to be graduate transfers next season.
And then there is Emoni Bates, the phenom from Ypsilanti who may reclassify from the 2022 class and be eligible to join MSU next fall. There would need to be at least one more scholarship to come open for that to happen, and it is unclear if all 10 of the remaining scholarship players will return and how many — if any — might be considering leaving.