MSU hoops are patient with Tyson Walker

Lansing East – When it comes to Tyson Walker, it’s probably best for everyone to take a deep breath.

That’s also true for Walker, the Michigan State junior point guard who transferred during the offseason from Northeastern with high expectations to reignite a Spartans offense that has been a mess most of last season.

It was clear through a pair of exhibition games and the season opener against Kansas’ No.3 that Walker had yet to catch his breath on his own, sometimes unsure of when to deal, when to shoot. and when to step on the accelerator.

“It was just trying to find a happy medium,” Walker said after Michigan State’s 90-46 win over Western Michigan on Friday. “The hits I took before were mostly bad hits, so I just didn’t know where to find my spots now. But we talked about it, and I know exactly what to do.”

We of course include Tom Izzo, the Hall of Fame coach who made Walker’s landing a priority after Walker completed a second season at Northeastern where he scored 18.8 points per game while handing out 4. , 8 assists and grabbing 2.4 steals per game as a CAA defensive end. player of the year.

Izzo wanted it all, obviously – shooting, passing, defense. But until Friday night, Walker struggled to figure out how to put it all together, taking just three shots against Kansas after combining just seven attempts in two exhibition games against Ferris State and Grand Valley State. None of his shots were 3 points.

“I think he’s pushing it a bit, trying to figure out what to do,” Izzo said. “I think he realizes that he has enough shooters in Max (Christie) and Joey (Hauser) and Gabe (Brown) that he wants to be a host, and so he’s probably kinda caught in the middle.

“I don’t care if he stops and shoots.” I could shoot him if he doesn’t shoot at it.

So when Walker stepped back and buried a triple to close the first half against West Michigan, he raised his arms almost in relief as his teammates assailed him with high-fives.

“Everyone was excited that I took a shot in the air,” Walker said with a smile, ending the game with seven points on a 3v4 shot with three assists for the Spartans (1-1 ).

He was smiling, but so were his coaches and teammates because that was at least a glimpse of what the Spartans were hoping to get – a true playmaker who can distribute the ball but also has the ability to hit a shot or kick off the ball. reach the basket.

After all, that’s what he had done the previous two seasons.

“It was the type of shots I used to take constantly before, and I just didn’t think it would be good here,” Walker said. “And then me and the coach had a chat, and he told me (to shoot). Once I got to that place – that was my place – and I shot it.”

Time will tell how fast it all turns out for Walker, who is transitioning from an intermediate program to one of the best programs and conferences in the country.

It’s not always easy, and the Michigan state schedule offers some breaks as the Spartans head to Butler (3-0) on Wednesday to take on the Bulldogs at the Gavitt Games, his next chance to prove the point. become easier and the confidence is there.

“It’s going to take him a little while,” Izzo said. “He won’t be here yet. He was from another league. He was from another program. He worked his ass. He’s a good boy. He has great skills. He finishes really well with both hands. It’s just not that easy to finish, so we’re trying to get it to shoot for those mid-range and shoot a three. He’s a good three-point shooter and only shot two.

“So I think he’s going to improve a lot better. “

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Twitter: @mattcharboneau

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