Bess was the guy talked about as last year’s most likely freshman to make an immediate impact, so much so that the smart money had him as a favorite to earn a starting spot. Then he had a foot injury which plagued him throughout the season, severely limiting what he could do on the court for MSU. Bess ended up playing in just 12 games and wasn’t ever fully healthy in any of those. He had surgery during the offseason, and the belief is that he’s finally 100% healthy.
The issue now is, how long does it take Bess to shake off the rust and find his comfort level on the court again? After seeing him a bit in the Italian games, he looked very much like a guy who had missed most of a year from the sport. What I’ve heard lately and what Izzo has mentioned is that he’s starting to find himself. That’s a big, big plus for this MSU team, as fans never got to see what he can really do.
A healthy Bess should be able to help MSU both on the wing and inside, which is particularly important if Marvin Clark can’t go or is limited in the early part of the season. Bess is a very versatile player. He’s a legit 6’5″ but has good strength and decent athleticism. He has a reasonably good handle and has shown high level vision at times as well. Izzo loves his defensive potential and his toughness and compete level and thinks he can be a high level rebounder. All of that suggests he’ll play a significant role for this team, probably (though not definitely) as a reserve.
The negative with him coming in was his perimeter shooting. He wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t seen as a strength. Given the amount of time he’s had to devote to physically getting back to 100%, it’s doubtful we’ll see huge strides this season…that’s probably a task for next summer. For now, though, MSU can live with him being healthy and contributing in his areas of strength.