Izzo adds two experienced transfers as preferred walk-ons


MSU head coach Tom Izzo supervises 2021 summer practice/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Sports Broadcast Director

EAST LANSING— On Tuesday, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo added a bevy of collegiate experience with the addition of former Western Michigan guard Jason Whitens and former Ferris State forward Michael Peterson. Both players are set to join the team as preferred walk-ons.

Whitens, an incoming redshirt senior, started in 47 games during his three seasons at Western Michigan and appeared in 67 overall contests. During the 2020-21 season, he started in 18 of the Broncos’ 21 games and averaged 5.4 points to go along with 3.5 rebounds in 23.4 minutes of action. The Powers, Michigan, native also shot 47% from the floor and 88% from the free throw line and was named an Academic All-MAC selection.

Whitens previously averaged 4.6 points per game and 4.3 rebounds in 24.4 minutes of action over the course of the 2019-20 season.

Peterson, like Whitens, also started in 18 games in 2020-21 while averaging 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 30.4 minutes. Overall, Peterson appeared in 96 career games over a four year span and established himself as an active force on the glass. The Rockford native averaged 5.5 points a game and five rebounds as a junior in 2019.

Both players will provide much-needed veteran leadership for a Spartan squad that is set to see three incoming freshmen (forwards Max Christie, Pierre Brooks and guard Jaden Akins) feature prominently in the rotation for the 2021-22 season.

Currently, MSU is set to have guards Steven Izzo and Davis Smith return as walk-ons; Orchard Lake St. Mary’s product Peter Nwoke is also set to join the team in a preferred walk-on capacity. In addition, football transfer Maliq Carr and incoming wide receiver recruit Keon Coleman have both expressed interest in joining the team after the conclusion of football season.