EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Out of all of the players on Michigan State’s basketball team Mady Sissoko is the one every Spartan fan wanted to see on the floor Thursday night against No. 5 Iowa, due to his size and defensive prowess.
However, the 6’9 center will no longer be an option now that he and Tom Izzo’s son, Steven, have tested positive for COVID-19.
“It saddens me, of course, because Mady was a guy who was starting to play more minutes and we knew with the Iowa’s and Illinois’ coming up his size would help,” said Izzo. “He was starting to play, six, eight, ten minutes a game when he was playing and building towards even more.”
Through ten games this season, Sissoko has pulled down 20 rebounds and blocked six shots, and with the Spartans having to face the best big man in the Big Ten, in Luka Garza, Sissoko’s presence inside will be missed.
“We don’t have a lot of big ‘bigs’ to throw at him, but we’ll throw a lot of different bodies at him,” said Izzo. “I think Marcus (Bingham Jr.) is going to have to step up and I think Julius Marble, who I’ve been a fan of all year, but just trying to work him in. Joey (Hauser) can cover some.”
Izzo, who tested positive for the coronavirus in November, revealed Steven, and Sissoko are roommates. Both are currently isolated and will be held out of competition for 17 days, following Big Ten protocols.
Also, Izzo mentioned no one else on the team has tested positive for COVID-19, leaving the status of Thursday’s game in Iowa’s hands. The Hawkeyes could cancel ‘out of an abundance of caution.’
“I imagine there is a chance of that and I would completely understand,” said Izzo. “I don’t think any of us really know what’s going on. I think we’re just trying to trust the process and the protocol the best we can, but if that happened I would totally understand.”
The Spartans (8-4, 2-4 Big Ten) are supposed to travel to Iowa City tonight for its 9 p.m. Thursday night game against the Hawkeyes (11-2, 5-1).