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Michigan State Men’s Basketball reportedly adds two walk-on players

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 25 Western Michigan at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tom Izzo isn’t done adding to his team for the 2021-2022 season quite yet. According to Justin Thind of 247Sports.com’s SpartanTailgate.com, the Michigan State Spartans basketball program has recently added two new transfer walk-on players, both from other in-state universities: Jason Whitens, a guard from Western Michigan, and Michael Peterson, a forward from Ferris State.

Whitens is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard originally from Powers, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula — not far away from Izzo’s hometown of Iron Mountain in the UP.

Whitens joined the Western Michigan Broncos in the 2017-2018 season, appearing in 67 career games, with 48 starts. He redshirted in 2018-2019 due to injury. Whitens averaged 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game during his time in Kalamazoo. He shot 47.3 percent from the field overall, as well as 30 percent from three-point range and 69 percent from the free-throw line.

The Iron Mountain Daily News was the first to report on Whitens, with Thind later confirming the news.

As for Peterson, the Ferris State transfer is a forward, who could also help on the wing for MSU.

Peterson played in 96 career games for the Bulldogs, including 18 starts. He averaged 4.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assist per game. He shot 48.2 percent from the floor, 35.8 percent from behind the arc and converted at a 69.4 percent clip on his free throws.

Peterson, originally from Rockford, Michigan, was also a member of Ferris State’s 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship team that finished the season with a historic 38-1 overall record.

The two transfer walk-ons provide depth on the wing for the Spartans. Michigan State’s 2021-2022 roster makeup is extremely intriguing. MSU has allocated just 11 of its available 13 scholarship player spots: Jaden Akins, Marcus Bingham Jr., Pierre Brooks II, Gabe Brown, Max Christie, Malik Hall, Joey Hauser, A.J. Hoggard, Julius Marble, Mady Sissoko and Tyson Walker.

However, up to seven walk-on players have been mentioned for MSU’s roster this season. Steven Izzo and Davis Smith are both expected to return from last year’s team. Then add in Whitens and Peterson to the fold, as well as Peter Nwoke from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, which makes five. Then there are the two freshmen football players, Keon Coleman and Maliq Carr, who plan to walk onto the basketball team as well. Whether or not all of these players mention end up making the final roster, especially with with Coleman and Carr being busy with football (plus Carr is coming off of recent leg surgery), remains to be seen.