In the months leading up to the 2021-’22 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Tyson Walker of the Michigan State Spartans, who came in at No. 18 in the rankings. The Spartans are hoping to rebound this year after last year’s eighth place finish in the Big Ten, the team’s worst since 1992-93 when Jud Heathcote was still the head coach. Transfer point guard Tyson Walker is likely to be heavily relied upon to help lead a turnaround this season.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - No. 18 Tyson Walker:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 50 games, 1,605 minutes, 680 points, 119 rebounds, 195 assists
- 2020-’21 Averages: 34,8 MPG, 18.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, 2.4 RPG, 0.1 SPG
- Positional Role: Point Guard
It is no surprise that the departure of two-time All-American point guard Cassius Winston resulted in a drop off in production for the Spartan offense last season. It is perhaps a tad shocking just how steep of a drop it resulted in, and thus came as no surprise that head coach Tom Izzo focused in on an answer for the role. Luckily for MSU fans, one of the top point guard prospects in the transfer portal answered the call and now Tyson Walker joins the Spartans this season.
Walker is an explosive and dynamic player on offense. Against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, he single-handedly helped keep his team from getting bowl out with 27 points on merely 15 shots. He was so important to the Huskies that Roy Williams chose to have his defense double-team and trap Walker at the half court line for the second half. That game kicked off a six-game stretch that saw Walker average 25.1 points per game. Walker has scored big numbers against other top teams like Georgia (19 points and six assists) as well.
Walker is also a capable defender. That will be a vital asset in a Tom Izzo system and when it comes to playing heavy minutes in the Big Ten. He can create his own shot and can push the fast break that has been lacking often times of late Izzo so loves to run.
-Areas for Improvement
Walker, despite his talents, is still a newcomer to the power-six league. The Big Ten, and the system Izzo runs, will be a big adjustment. He will need time to adjust to the level of play game-in and game-out in East Lansing, and with the Spartans schedule it will not have any break-in period during the non-conference to do so easily.
Walker is also coming into a team with a lot of players stepping into starter or leadership roles for the first time for Michigan State. Can he mesh with them all and be the point guard the Spartans need? Or will the pressure be too much for him?
Expect Walker to get the start at point guard and to be on the court for most of the games, at least early in the season. As AJ Hoggard and Max Christie come along, Walker may see longer breaks in the games to keep his legs fresh, but he is likely to see the court often and to have an outsized impact compared to other newcomers in the league.
'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings:
- #26-27 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Moussa Diabate (Michigan)
- #24 - Donta Scott (Maryland)
- #22 - Justice Sueing (Ohio State)
- #22 - Max Christie (Michigan State)
- #20 - Miller Kopp (Indiana)
- #20 - Connor McCaffery (Iowa)
- #19 - Zach Edey (Purdue)
- #18 - Tyson Walker (Michigan State)
- #17 - To Be Continued ...