Earlier this week, Joshua Langford announced his retirement from basketball, stepping away after a five-year career with Michigan State basketball and forgoing a free year of eligibility.
Langford’s departure was expected, but it still shot down the notion that Tom Izzo would be talking to him about potentially rejoining the Spartans in 2021-22. He leaves a big void on the wing as the once-promising shooting guard’s playing career ended on a sour note due to injuries.
While he wasn’t exactly the same player as a redshirt senior as he was as a freshman, sophomore, and half of his junior year, Langford was still a solid defender who could shoot from anywhere.
How can the Spartans replace an impactful wing like that?
Bryce Thompson would be the perfect choice.
The Kansas transfer entered the portal just last week and he immediately became one of the top names on the market. The name also sounds familiar because he was one of Michigan State’s top targets in the 2020 recruiting class before ultimately choosing Bill Self and the Jayhawks.
The former five-star combo guard from Oklahoma is almost too perfect of a replacement for Langford and would be a dream addition for Tom Izzo.
Best-case Langford replacement for Michigan State basketball
The similarities between Thompson and Langford are actually kind of crazy.
Both stand 6-foot-5 and are between 190-200 pounds and their games are very similar. Langford was a plus defender who could score from anywhere on the floor and wasn’t afraid to take the big shot. Thompson is the exact same. He isn’t afraid to shoot even though injuries hurt his numbers as a true freshman and his defense is solid.
As a high school recruit, Langford was ranked the No. 19 overall prospect, third-best shooting guard, and top prospect from Alabama, according to the composite. Thompson was the No. 21 overall recruit in his class, fourth-best combo guard, and top Oklahoma prospect. Like Langford, Thompson was also considering MSU and a top blue blood. He chose Kansas while Langford nearly picked Kentucky.
Injuries also made some people forget how good Thompson could really be when he’s healthy — just like Langford.
If Michigan State wants to replace Langford with a younger, fresher, more athletic version, Thompson needs to be the guy.