Michigan State basketball: Record 12 players make athletic Academic Honor Roll

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Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
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Michigan State’s men’s basketball team didn’t let a season filled with problems on the court and disrupted by COVID-19 affect them in the classroom.

All 12 players who were eligible named to the Academic Honor Roll on Thursday. It is the first time in the 23-year history of the awards that has happened for Tom Izzo’s program, and they will be honored virtually during the annual Spartan Academic Excellence Gala on Thursday.

“The challenges over the last year-plus due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced everyone to adapt and adjust to virtual classes and learning make this an even greater accomplishment,” Izzo said in a statement, “and I'm very impressed with the work they did."

Michigan State guard Joshua Langford (1) high-fives coach Tom Izzo after scoring a basket to force Illinois into calling timeout during the first half at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.
Michigan State guard Joshua Langford (1) high-fives coach Tom Izzo after scoring a basket to force Illinois into calling timeout during the first half at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.

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To qualify, athletes must be in at least their third semester at MSU and have a minimum 3.00 cumulative grade-point average or earned a 3.00 or better during the 2020 calendar year. There are 471 Spartan athletes who will be recognized.

Five team members earned High Honors: sophomore Malik Hall, sophomore Steven Izzo, junior Thomas Kithier, graduate student Joshua Langford and junior Foster Loyer. Loyer also earned the team's Scholar-Athlete Award with the highest cumulative GPA.

Making the Academic Honor Roll were juniors Marcus Bingham Jr., Gabe Brown, and Aaron Henry; redshirt junior Joey Hauser and Jack Hoiberg and sophomores Julius Marble II and Rocket Watts.

The only players who weren’t eligible were A.J. Hoggard, Mady Sissoko and Davis Smith due to being freshmen.

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“I’m proud of our team for their commitment to success in the classroom,” Izzo said. “We've had tremendous achievements over the last couple of years, and it's a credit to them and to our Academic Advisor Hannon Roberts, who has helped all of our players while they balance academics and athletics.

Both Kithier (Valparaiso) and Hoiberg (Texas-San Antonio) found new homes as graduate transfers for next season after the Spartans went 15-13 to extend Izzo’s streak to 23 straight NCAA tournament appearances. Loyer and Watts remain in the NCAA transfer portal. Henry declared for the NBA draft, and Langford announced he would not return for a sixth year despite having an option to with a COVID-19 waiver.

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: 12 Spartans make Academic Honor Roll