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Former Michigan State guard Rocket Watts announces transfer to Mississippi State

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NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State guard Mark “Rocket” Watts announced his plans to transfer to Mississippi State on Saturday.

Watts, who entered the transfer portal in late March, struggled as a sophomore for the Spartans. During the 2020-2021 campaign. Watts averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game last season. He shot just 33.6 percent overall from the field, including an abysmal 25.3 percent from three-point land. While the offensive issues were obvious, Watts also struggled on the defensive end as well.

Tom Izzo and the MSU coaching staff experimented with Watts at the point guard position this past season, and Watts would fluctuate between the one-spot and two-spot, but he was never able to consistently put it together on the court no matter what position he played.

Following Watts’ decision to enter the transfer portal, Izzo said he and Watts “mutually agreed” it was best for the guard to move on from the program:

“The way we live our lives and how we operate were drastically changed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year,” Izzo said. “Even under normal circumstances, making a change like we did this year with Rocket would have been challenging.

In preparation for last season, we had asked Rocket to take on a new role. It’s the type of position change where a spring, summer and fall of practice would have been extremely beneficial for him. Unfortunately, the pandemic created circumstances beyond anyone’s control. As a result, he didn’t get the necessary practice time, which put him in a difficult and challenging situation.

After several discussions over the past week, we mutually agreed that he may benefit from a fresh start elsewhere and is putting his name in the transfer portal. Rocket has made progress in all facets of his life, especially making tremendous strides academically. We appreciate the contributions he’s made over the last two years and wish Rocket nothing but the best in his future. He’ll always be part of the Spartan Family.”

While Watts struggled to find his footing throughout the season, he did put together a few good games and highlights, including in the victory against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, at home against Detroit Mercy and in the regular season finale against Michigan at the Breslin Center. His play against Michigan (21 points, four rebounds, four assists) helped cement the Spartans’ 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

In two season in East Lansing, Watts averaged 8.4 points, 2.2 assists and two rebounds per contest, while shooting 36.3 percent from the floor, 26.9 percent from three-point range and 78.9 percent from the free-throw line. He played in 55 games, including 31 starts, for the Spartans.

Watts will now play for the Bulldogs under head coach Ben Howland and compete in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as he goes from one MSU to another MSU. Similarly in football news, tight end Powers Warren recently made the switch from Mississippi State to Michigan State.

Best of luck to Rocket at his new university! We’ll be rooting for him here at The Only Colors (unless Mississippi State ends up playing Michigan State at some point next season).