Michigan State basketball lands point guard transfer Tyson Walker from Northeastern

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Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press
·4 min read
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Tom Izzo got a new point guard from the portal, and Michigan State basketball now has a numbers problem.

Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker announced Saturday via Twitter he plans to join the Spartans this fall. The sophomore will have three seasons of eligibility remaining due to a COVID-19 waiver, but he will count against MSU’s 13 scholarship limit for 2021-22.

"I'll be able to develop my personal game while competing for a national title," Walker told Stockrisers.com. "It doesn't get better than that."

The Spartans currently have two open scholarships, with Joshua Langford’s coming off the books and the open scholarship that was given to Jack Hoiberg coming free. Izzo already has three incoming freshmen signed for this fall in five-star shooting guard Max Christie and a pair of four-stars in point guard Jaden Akins and combo guard Pierre Brooks II.

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MSU needs one more scholarship to come open for that class, plus a fourth to bring in Walker. Another is expected to free up if junior Aaron Henry enters the NBA draft.

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It is unclear if Henry will return again or what may happen with the other 10 Spartans who have remaining eligibility.

Walker picked MSU over Maryland, Kansas, Texas, Miami and Vanderbilt. The 6-foot, 170-pound native of Westbury, New York, averaged 18.8 points, 4.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game this season at Northeastern. He earned the Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the year and all-conference first-team honors and is a finalist for the Lou Henson Award, which will be given Thursday to the top mid-major player in college basketball.

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As a freshman, Walker averaged 10.4 points, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals en route to CAA all-rookie honors in 2019-20. He played at legendary high school basketball power Christ the King in Queens before taking a prep year in New Hampton School in New Hampshire, where he became a three-star recruit rated the nation's 70th-best point guard in the 2019 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.

Northeastern's Tyson Walker (2) throws a pass around Delaware's Justyn Mutts (top right) in the first half at the Bob Carpenter Center Thursday.
Northeastern's Tyson Walker (2) throws a pass around Delaware's Justyn Mutts (top right) in the first half at the Bob Carpenter Center Thursday.

Typically, Walker would be required to sit out 2021-22 under transfer rules. However, the NCAA’s Division I Council after the Final Four next month is expected to approve a one-season proposal allowing transfers immediate eligibility without restrictions for next season due to the pandemic.

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Langford announced after the Spartans’ 86-80 overtime loss to UCLA in the NCAA tournament’s First Four he did not plan to return to MSU for a sixth season, which would not count against the limit of 13 scholarships. Hoiberg, who received a scholarship vacated when Xavier Tillman remained in the 2020 NBA draft, entered the NCAA transfer portal Wednesday.

And if Izzo plans to make any more additions for next season, he would need more current players to leave the program and relinquish scholarship spots. That includes both potential transfers as well as Ypsilanti Prep junior phenom Emoni Bates. The five-star forward and No. 1 player in the 2022 class, who committed to MSU in June, has yet to announce if he plans to reclassify into the 2021 class and join the Spartans or wait out potential professional options.

Izzo rarely has taken inbound transfers during his 26 seasons, and even fewer at point guard. He brought in Anthony Mull from Indian Hills Community College in 1995, Brandon Smith from Coastal Carolina in 1998 and Rashi Johnson from Mott Community College in 2002.

The Spartans’ most recent transfers have included current junior Joey Hauser (Marquette), Eron Harris (West Virginia), Bryn Forbes (Cleveland State) and Brandon Wood (Valparaiso).

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State basketball lands Northeastern PG transfer Tyson Walker