Michigan State fans, looking for a pick-me-up after failing to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the third straight season? You're not going to find it by looking at the Spartans' projected rotation for 2018-19.
Michigan State's outlook for next season isn't bad by any means but given the expected departures, it's not unreasonable to expect an initial step back.
Assuming both Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. both enter the 2018 NBA Draft, the Spartans will have a dramatically different rotation. Lourawls Nairn Jr., Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter will graduate, giving them five departures. Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and other key contributors are expected to return, but Tom Izzo's quest for their first Sweet Sixteen since 2015 will feature a new rotation.
Here is the Spartans' projected rotation for 2018-19.
F – Nick Ward, Jr.
Nick Ward didn't make the massive sophomore leap like many expected after a strong second half in 2016-17.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder still had a strong season, bumping his shooting clip to nearly six points to 65 percent and averaging more than seven rebounds per game.
F – Marcus Bingham Jr., Fr.
Marcus Bingham will battle Kenny Goins for the second frontcourt spot. And given his size and versatility, Bingham should win.
The 6-foot-10, 195-pound power forward from Grand Rapids, Mich., is the 57th-ranked recruit in the 2018 class and signed during the early period. He's an elite shot-blocker who can hit from three and is a dose of aggressiveness away from becoming a big-time talent.
G – Matt McQuaid, Sr.
It feels like Matt McQuaid has been at Michigan State for a decade.
The former top-75 player has never turned the corner but remains a legitimate perimeter threat (121 career three-pointers on 38 percent shooting) and strong defender who should be a full-time starter as a senior for the first time in his career.
G – Joshua Langford, Jr.
Langford's shooting numbers dipped (50 to 43 percent overall and 42 to 40 from deep) and he was unreliable most of the season but the combo guard was still lauded by Tom Izzo throughout the year, particularly for his defense.
The former McDonald's All-American should be the Spartans' leader scorer next year.
G – Cassius Winston, Jr.
Cassius Winston can be one of the nation's best point guards if he cuts back on fouls and turnovers (one foul or turnover every 6.2 minutes last year). He had an outstanding shooting season, hitting 51 percent of his shots, including 50 percent from beyond the arc.
F – Kenny Goins, Sr.
As said, Goins might earn a starting spot over Bingham with a strong offseason — and if Izzo is fine with a small lineup. Goins, at 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, is a decent rebounder for his size (3.5 in 14.5 minutes for his career) but remains a project offensively.
F – Braden Burke, So.
A transfer from Robert Morris who sat out last season, Braden Burke will not have a huge impact as a sophomore but, at 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, gives Michigan State much-needed size off the bench. He averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 15 minutes in his lone season with the Colonials.
F – Xavier Tillman, So.
Xavier Tillman is a big, wide dude. At 6-foot-8, 260 pounds he has a similar body and game as Nick Ward.
He appeared in all 35 games and began playing big minutes over the season's final few weeks and had nine offensive rebounds in their tourney loss to Syracuse.
F – Gabe Brown, Fr.
One of Michigan State's three four-star recruits from Michigan, Gabe Brown is a 6-foot-8, 185-pounder from Belleville. He's not a slashing small forward — yet — but plays above-average defense and rocketed up recruiting boards thanks to a strong senior season.
F – Aaron Henry, Fr.
A potential redshirt candidate, Aaron Henry, a three-star prospect from Indianapolis, is the 34th-ranked power forward in the 2018 class. He's a bit of a tweener player with both small forward and shooting guard skills, though he projects as a modest-minutes wing who plays strong defense.
F – Thomas Kithier, Fr.
Another redshirt candidate, Thomas Kithier is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound in-state power forward who had mostly mid-major offers.
He can play anywhere on the court offensively but may need a year on the bench to build muscle. If Kithier plays as a freshman, don't expect more than 5-8 minutes per game.
G – Foster Loyer, Fr.
The fifth and final member of the 2018 class, Foster Loyer is the third in-state four-star player. A top-100 prospect, Loyer is smaller (5-foot-10, 160 pounds, though measurements vary significantly) but doesn't play like it. He's an aggressive, ruthless scorer who should be the primary backup to Winston.
G – Kyle Ahrens, Jr.
Ahrens missed all of last season with a foot injury suffered during preseason practice. He was a role player as a sophomore in 2016-17 and, given the Spartans' lack of backcourt depth, should see at least 10-12 minutes per game.