By: Will Burchfield
For all of Nick Ward’s offensive talent, one may anticipate the freshman middle to obtain extra enjoying time.
He’s second on Michigan State in scoring (thirteen.2 factors per recreation) however seventh in minutes performed (19.2). Tom Izzo defined the disparity on Monday morning, on the heels of one other robust efficiency by Ward – thirteen factors in sixteen minutes – within the Spartans’ Sunday afternoon win over Michigan.
“We gotta proceed with Nick. He’s been doing a very good job, however extra video games than not he’s in foul hassle, (which) is the rationale he hasn’t performed as a lot. And but 19, 20 minutes is a number of minutes, particularly for giant guys,” Izzo advised the Jamie and Stoney Present on ninety seven.1 The Ticket.
In every of Ward’s three highest-scoring video games of the season – all Michigan State wins – he performed at the least 25 minutes and had not more than two fouls. However towards Purdue final Tuesday and Michigan on Sunday, he accrued 4 fouls and sat for lengthy stretches of time consequently.
Izzo additionally steered Ward wants to enhance his defensive recreation.
“There’s two ends of a courtroom, and towards Michigan it’s very troublesome to protect…You play a recreation like this and he can get you two, however on the opposite finish they’re stretching you with fives that may shoot it to allow them to get the three. Then on the finish of the sport if you’d wish to have him in there, they fouled him with about six minutes left once we have been up 9 or 10, simply type of a hack-a-Shaq foul, and we gotta cope with that due to the free throws,” Izzo stated.
Ward is capturing simply fifty five % from the road, making him a goal (and a legal responsibility) in late-recreation conditions. His penchant for moving into foul hassle has harm the Spartans, who’re three-four when Ward has at the least 4 fouls.
“If you get a pair fouls on a man like Nick and also you don’t have any subs at that place at that measurement, it creates another issues too that perhaps are more durable to see,” Izzo stated.
The coach made it clear he prefers to have the 6’eight, 250-pound freshman on the ground than on the bench.
“I really like Nick Ward, he’s been nice, he’s gotten higher, he’s carried out a whole lot of good issues,” stated Izzo. “I do know this: I don’t go there and say, ‘Let’s see, I’ll not play Nick so I can lose the sport.’”
With Spartans (thirteen-9) on the NCAA Event bubble with 9 video games remaining, they’ll want Ward greater than ever. How a lot he’ll play is usually as much as him.