Following their upset loss to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, the Michigan State Spartans turned their attention to the 2016-17 season. In comparison to the past year, their roster will undergo a major overhaul, as several key players are on their way out while a new crop of talented freshmen are coming to East Lansing.
The likes of Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello, Bryn Forbes, and Colby Wollenman are graduating, leaving holes all over the lineup to begin. Then, add in the fact that freshman Deyonta Davis could leave school early for the NBA Draft leaves another big spot to be filled.
Despite bringing in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes, the Spartans would be lacking experienced players to help guide the newcomers through the year.
On Tuesday, the Spartans were dealt another blow to their depth chart in 2016-17. Sophomores Javon Bess and Marvin Clark, Jr. both were granted their release, and will transfer from the program.
Clark, a 6’6”, 225-pound forward from Kansas City, Missouri, had an up-and-down two seasons with the Spartans. After dealing with various injuries, he was never able to develop into the player that Michigan State fans had hoped.
This past season, Clark averaged 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, while playing just 9.7 minutes per contest. He hot 54.2% from the floor on the season, and 42.3% from three point range.
Much like Clark, Javon Bess was unable to live up to expectations in East Lansing over his two seasons. The 6’5”, 205-pound native of Columbus, Ohio brought depth to both the back court and front court off the bench. He was used sparingly over the course of his two years, averaging just 11.4 minutes per game in each season.
Bess averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in 2015-16. Over the Spartans’ last five games, Bess played a combined 12 minutes, scoring a combined 2 points over the five games.
Both players are looking for a situation where they will see more playing time and can have more of an impact on a nightly basis.
Moving forwards for the Spartans, losing two more depth players doesn’t bode well. However, with the young talent that the Spartans have coming in, they are in a good position moving forwards.
We will keep tabs on the situations for Clark, Jr. and Bess as the off-season progresses, and update the stories as they both unfold.