The Michigan State Spartans will have to find a replacement for the departure of guard Travis Trice, who was second on the team in three pointers made from a season ago (Denzel Valentine led the team). Trice was the catalyst in many of the Spartan's games in 2014-15 and with the program's success predominantly now on the shoulders of Valentine, some new pieces will need to emerge in order for sustained success in 2015-16. West Virginia transfer Eron Harris looks primed to step in the starting lineup to help alleviate the loss of Trice. The 6'3", 175-pound junior averaged 17.2 points per game, which ranked second on the team in 2013-14, per ESPN.com.
With two top-100 freshmen on board along with West Virginia transfer Eron Harris, the Spartans have an excellent blend of youth and upperclassman leadership. Freshman big man Deyonta Davis may get the majority of publicity for the 2015 freshman class, but freshman Matt McQuaid has the skill set to become a fixture in the scoring column for the Spartans in the years to come.
McQuaid will enter East Lansing as one of the most dangerous three point shooters in the program. The Duncanville standout is excellent in all three facets of perimeter shooting - spot up, off the dribble and coming off screens. McQuaid has a beautiful release on his shot and nearly flawless shooting mechanics. With his height and shooting prowess, shooting success will follow him to the collegiate ranks.
Shooting isn't the only strong suit to McQuaid's offensive arsenal. He possesses a solid handle to get to the rim and even finish above the rim if needed. The freshman has the ability to pull up after a few power dribbles from either hand, get to the lane for a floater above a bigger defender and even finish through contact. He's not the most reliable when it comes to finishing after contact, but is able to drive aggressively if the defense doesn't respect his ball-handling capabilities.
Areas for Improvement
At 185 pounds, McQuaid will need to strengthen up in order to compete at a high level in the physical Big Ten. McQuaid has put on 10 pounds since the conclusion of his senior season to now, but is still quite lean.
Scoring off the dribble was a facet of McQuaid's game in high school, but it's not a certainty that becomes an option in college. His quickness and foot speed are above average, but he will need to work on getting quicker, especially for defensive purposes. Staying in front of his man in one-on-one coverage will be tough starting out.
McQuaid has the potential to become a scoring threat, but long-range shooting is his specialty. Dribbling with his left hand is still a work in progress, so in order to avoid becoming one dimensional McQuaid will need to become more ambidextrous and versatile on offense. Rebounding will need to become a bigger part of his game under Tom Izzo, as team rebounding is preached in the Izzo huddles. McQuaid averaged only three rebounds per game on the AAU circuit.
He isn't projected to start this upcoming season, but could be looked upon to make an impact off the bench in year one. Look for McQuaid to be used in situations when a large deficit is facing the Spartans and a scoring run is needed. McQuaid has the makings of a solid four year player who could look to crack the starting lineup by his sophomore season, but will need to bulk up and continue working on his lateral foot speed and quickness if he wants to get there.