Michigan State Point Guard AJ Hoggard Declares For NBA Draft
For the second time in four days, a Michigan State basketball underclassman is testing the NBA waters.
Junior point guard AJ Hoggard has formally declared for the 2023 NBA Draft, according to a list of 200-plus early-entry candidates the league released Tuesday night.
Hoggard was the Spartans' starting point guard this past season. He finished as the team's third-leading scorer at 12.9 points per game, and also averaged 3.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.6 turnovers per game. His shot had noticeably improved to the tune of 32.9 percent from 3 and 41.7 percent overall. The 6-foot-4 Pennsylvania native also made nearly 81 percent of his free throws.
Hoggard elevated his game down the stretch, helping Michigan State's offense find a new gear over the final eight games and earn a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. During that span, Hoggard averaged 16.1 points — which made him MSU's leading scorer those eight games, edging out Tyson Walker's 15.75 per game — 3.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.8 turnovers per game, while shooting 42.5 percent overall and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc.
He joins teammate Jaden Akins, who would be a junior in the 2023-2024 season, in declaring early for the draft. Akins announced the news on Friday but clarified that he won't hire an agent, allowing him to back out of the 2023 NBA Draft and return to college next season if he chooses. By late Tuesday evening, there was no official word whether Hoggard also plans to give himself the option to return.
Until last week, it looked as though Michigan State would have a logjam at guard/wing next season. Earlier this month, Tyson Walker announced his plans to return to East Lansing next year as a fifth-year senior. That meant that a group of five players — Walker, Hoggard, Akins, sophomore point guard Tre Holloman, and incoming five-star point guard recruit Jeremy Fears Jr. — would all be competing for minutes across just three positions.
NCAA rules give players until May 31 to withdraw from NBA Draft consideration and return to college next season. Hoggard has two years of college eligibility left — his senior year and a potential fifth year the NCAA offers players whose seasons were cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2019-2020 season.