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Notes & Quotes: Preparations continue for Tom Izzo and Michigan State men’s basketball

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State men’s basketball had a post-practice media availability session on Tuesday. Head coach Tom Izzo and some players were accessible to the media.

Izzo opened by addressing the injuries on the team. He said that senior forward Malik Hall was back at practice on Monday after being out for nine days. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Jaden Akins is still recovering from a foot injury.

“Jaden (Akins) is making progress, but it’s not the same team when you have two starters out,” Izzo said. “It’s a shame. He had such a good summer.”

Hall suffered a “bad stubbed toe” according to Izzo. Akins has been out for a few weeks after undergoing surgery for a stress reaction in his foot. Izzo also noted that Akins most likely won’t be back in time for Michigan State’s closed-door scrimmage against Tennessee in a few weeks.

Additionally, Izzo touched on some players who have stood out in practice so far.

“I’m really impressed with Mady (Sissoko),” Izzo said. “Joey Hauser has been unbelievable. Tyson Walker and A.J. (Hoggard) have all played very well.”

Due to the Spartans’ lack of depth, freshman guard Tre Holloman is expected to immediately step into a big role.

“My confidence level is high,” Holloman said. “There’s some minutes out there.”

Izzo likes what he has seen from Holloman thus far. “He’s really athletic, and he’s one of my favorite guys because he played four years of football,” Izzo said of Holloman. “Today, he had a great practice.”

Izzo also talked about implementing a zone defense this season. Of course, that has not been typical for Michigan State teams during Izzo’s tenure. How often the Spartans will actually use the zone defense this season still remains to be seen.

“In the past, we usually didn’t work on our zone until the season pretty much started,” Hall said. “We definitely started early in the summer this year working on some zones and making sure people understood where to be at.

“It’s definitely something that we’ve gone over and something that we’ve tried to work on,” Hall added.

On a less serious note, Michigan State Madness returns to the Breslin Center on Friday, Oct. 8, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. This event celebrates the beginning of the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.

“I really hope everybody gets out,” Izzo said. “I think football has done a good job getting students back in the stands. We got to do the same thing.

“I’m really looking forward to it because we haven’t done it for like three years,” Izzo added.

Michigan State will open its 2022-2023 season in an exhibition game against Grand Valley State on Nov. 1, before opening the regular season against Northern Arizona in East Lansing on Nov. 7.