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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
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Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

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Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Goodbye, MSU | Adam Steinhauer
Adam Steinhauer, Marketing Director • May 10, 2024
View All
Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
2024 East Lansing Art Festival Q&A
Samantha Ku, Writer/Volunteer • May 18, 2024

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Breaking down MSU’s zone buster: Malik Hall becoming an X-factor on both ends

MSU+graduate+forward+Malik+Hall+%2825%29+high+fives+sophomore+guard+Tre+Holloman+during+a+game+against+Minnesota+on+Thursday%2C+Jan.+18%2C+2024+at+the+Breslin+Center.
Jack Moreland
MSU graduate forward Malik Hall (25) high fives sophomore guard Tre Holloman during a game against Minnesota on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 at the Breslin Center.

EAST LANSING – It’s no secret that when opposing teams opt for a zone defense against Michigan State, the ball often finds the hands of Malik Hall. 

The graduate forward has emerged as MSU’s best inside-out option on offense this season, where he has provided steady production with his arsenal of turnaround jumpers off of either shoulder, crafty finishes at the rim, and an innate savviness on both ends of the floor.

“He’s kinda everything,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo earlier this season of Hall after he scored a then career-high 24 points against Penn State. 

“He’s inside, he’s outside. He’s versatile,” Izzo said.

On the season, Hall is averaging 12.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 27.5 minutes. Hall is shooting 54.5 percent from the field, along with 35.6 percent from three and 70.7 percent from the free-throw line. 

MSU struggled on Tuesday night against Iowa’s zone defense, particularly because they were unable to generate offense out of the middle, which Hall has done consistently this season. 

Hall still managed to record 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the loss.

“It was a little hard to kind of get the looks that we wanted,” said Hall. 

Even when MSU did find him, Hall had trouble getting consistent looks for himself or others due to Iowa’s adjustment once the ball got to him. 

“When I got the ball in the middle I didn’t really see many openings or many gaps,” said Hall. 

“It was kind of unique because everybody matched up as soon as the ball went to the middle, so it was a little funky as far as trying to find other people shots and knowing where I can go, because when you catch it in the middle I don’t really know the people behind me. I don’t know where they’re at.” 

MSU graduate forward fires a fadeaway jump shot against Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024 at the Breslin Center. (Jack Moreland)

Within zones, Hall has served as somewhat of a bridge between MSU’s bigs and guards. His size and versatility give him the vision to often find centers in the dunkers spots, hit contested jumpers within the midrange area, or to collapse the defense and find someone on the perimeter. 

“I’m mostly just reading the position of everybody else,” said Hall.

“Seeing where they’re at on the floor, and then kinda seeing when I catch the ball where the person that’s supposed to be defending me or picking me up is at.” 

Where Hall has been most effective is near the free-throw line, or either of the elbows  where he typically hovers.

“After that I just kind of look at where the gaps are, to where I can attack and maybe get somebody else a shot or get a shot that I want,” Hall said. 

On the season, Hall is shooting a team-high 58.5 percent on two pointers, according to KenPom, along with a true shooting percentage of 60.7.

Per Ken Pom, based on players who have at least 20 percent of their team’s possessions, Hall is just outside the top 60 in offensive rating with 120.6. 

While MSU’s trio of guards in AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker, and Jaden Akins handle the bulk of the playmaking responsibilities, Hall has unequivocally been an anchor on offense. Tuesday night’s loss highlighted how vital he’ll continue to be on both ends of the floor for the Spartans, in a role that can’t be replicated by anyone else on the current roster. 

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About the Contributors
A.J. Evans
A.J. Evans, Sports Editor
A.J. Evans (He/Him/His) is the Sports Editor at Impact 89FM. He is from Southfield, Michigan and is majoring in journalism. He has covered football, women's and men's basketball for the Impact. “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase sky’s the limit….see you chumps on top.” - Biggie  
Jack Moreland
Jack Moreland, Sports Photo Editor
Jack (he/him) is a Journalism major focusing in sports reporting and media photography. Growing up in nearby Okemos, Michigan, he has been a lifelong Spartan and is proud to sport the green and white. Jack is a big Baby Keem fan and is known to post on your block with your wishlist on you.

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