Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas/happy holiday.
And now on for the big news of the day.
Tom Izzo and Michigan State players were caught by surprise with sophomore backup guard Brandan Kearney’s decision to leave the Spartan basketball program.
Kearney informed Izzo of his decision shortly after the team returned from a brief break for Christmas and the move was finalized late Thursday night.
Kearney was playing 17 minutes a night so that creates opportunities for other players in the rotation as the Spartans head into Big Ten play.
“I’ve gotta admit it was a little strange for me and the players when a guy is playing 17 minutes a game, but at the same time it’s gonna open it up maybe for another guy like (Russell) Byrd or maybe (Travis) Trice gets more minutes or I move BJ (Branden Dawson) back out there,” Izzo said.
Kearney’s decision was just as surprising to the players. MSU freshman Denzel Valentine roomed with Kearney on the road and never sensed unhappiness.
“He gotta do what he gotta do. If this is not the place for him then I just wish him the best wherever he goes. I love him to death, but if he wants to move that’s his choice,” Valentine said.
Kearney leaving gives an option for Izzo in recruiting.
“It will help us in that respect. It would’ve been easier at the end of the year but I wouldn’t want it at the end of the year because then you wouldn’t be able to go out and recruit,” Izzo said. “Now we can go out and recruit.”
MSU players are focused on moving on without Kearney as it faces a tough opening road test against Minnesota to begin the Big Ten slate.
“I wish him well first and foremost but the ship still gotta move,” junior guard Keith Appling said. We’re gonna continue to focus on our Big Ten season, but at the same time we wish him the best with whatever his decision may be as far as choosing another school.”