Mississippi State Basketball Lands Transfer Center

Have Chris Jans and Mississippi State basketball found their answer to replace Tolu Smith?
Jan 30, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes center Michael Nwoko (1) dribbles
Jan 30, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes center Michael Nwoko (1) dribbles / Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State basketball is going to have several new faces on the roster for the 2024-2025 season. Centers Tolu Smith and Jimmy Bell Jr., wing DJ Jeffries, and guard Dashawn Davis all saw their college basketball careers come to an end in State's opening round tournament loss to Michigan State last month.

Since that time, State has had four players enter the transfer portal. Guards Shakeel Moore and Trey Fort and forwards KeShawn Murphy and Jaquan Scott are off in search of new homes. The Bulldogs did learn that stars Josh Hubbard and Cameron Matthews will be returning, but those two and Shawn Jones are the only players returning who were in the top-10 of minutes played for State.

Needless to say, Chris Jans is having to work hard to reload the roster going into his third season in Starkville, and he just landed a very important addition.

Former Miami center Michael Nwoko commits to Mississippi State

Mississippi State landed center Michael Nwoko on Wednesday. The 6'10", 245 lb big man comes to Starkville after playing his freshman season at Miami. In limited action, Nwoko averaged 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Despite seeing little playing time as a true freshman, Nwoko has a very high ceiling. He was a 4-star prospect out of high school, holding offers UCLA, Houston, Providence, Creighton, Oregon, and several others along with The U.

Nwoko maintained a 4-star rating as a transfer prospect. The expectation is that he is on his way to being an outstanding player. He becomes the second transfer to join Mississippi State alongside former Penn State guard Kanye Clary.

Will Michael Nwoko be the leading option to replace Tolu Smith?

MSU has a glaring hole at the 5 with decorated big man Tolu Smith graduating. His backup, Jimmy Bell Jr., is also done with college hoops (though he's trying his hand at another sport...). With freshman Gai Chol being the only returning big on the roster, State was going to pursue the center spot hard this offseason through the portal.

But is Nwoko coming in to take over the lead role? That's a big question for MSU. He has fantastic potential but is very inexperienced. The transfer portal is currently loaded with proven and productive centers, and I have to think Chris Jans is going to make a push to land one of them alongside Nwoko.

The next few weeks should tell us whether or not Michael Nwoko is going to lead the way for Mississippi State or serve as a high-ceiling depth piece. Either way, this was a much needed addition for Bulldog basketball.