The addition of wood alleviates many worries Tom Izzo faced heading into 2011-2012. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

Guard will be immediately eligible for 2011-12 season as a senior.

 

Michigan State men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo announced Friday that guard Brandon Wood will join the Spartan program for the upcoming 2011-12 season. Wood played for Valparaiso the last two seasons, and will receive his bachelor’s degree at Valparaiso ’s May commencement ceremony. He’ll have one season of collegiate eligibility remaining for the Spartans.

 

NCAA rules allow an institution to apply for a waiver to allow a student-athlete to transfer without sitting out a season, provided the student-athlete has earned a bachelor’s degree, has eligibility remaining and is enrolling in a graduate-level program. 

 

In his two years as a Crusader, Wood earned a myriad of honors while helping Valpo to 38 victories and a postseason berth this past season in the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Tournament). He scored 1,117 points in just two seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 2.7 assists, while starting 64 of 65 games. The 1,117 points were a Valparaiso record for a player in his first two seasons.

 

“Brandon Wood gives us a combo guard that’s proven himself as a scorer against strong competition; scoring 30 against North Carolina , 24 against Michigan State and 20 or more against Purdue twice in the last two years,” said Izzo. “He’s proven himself on the court, but also in the classroom as he’ll receive his degree this month. I’ve been impressed getting to know Brandon as a person, and I believe he’ll be a great teammate as he, along with our incoming freshman class, blends in with our returning players.

 

“We were in a little bit of a unique situation in that when we signed our incoming freshman class, we expected Korie Lucious to be a part of this year’s team, playing significant minutes. After Korie’s dismissal, we were in a position where we could take a talented, experienced guard for one season and not have it affect either the incoming freshmen or future recruiting classes. We’ve lost some pretty good guards in the last year and a half, but Brandon adds some versatility and depth – along with the nucleus of the freshmen that we have coming in – to help strengthen our backcourt.

 

“The rule allowing graduating seniors with a year of eligibility remaining to transfer and play immediately can be a unique and difficult situation, but one we were familiar with, having gone through it last year with Tom Herzog,” Izzo continued. “I think all parties involved handled the process very well, but I’m especially appreciative of the way Coach Homer Drew handled things, even as he was losing a talented player. There’s no doubt that Brandon comes from a well-coached program that’s helped him grow not only as a player, but also as a man.”

 

This past season, Wood was the lone non-senior honored as a First-Team All-Horizon League honoree after averaging a team-best 16.7 points per game, good for third in the league.  He also earned Horizon League All-Tournament Team accolades, posting 24.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in tournament play to lead the Crusaders to the HL Semifinals.  Also a NABC All-District 12 First-Team honoree, Wood did more than score this past season, averaging 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game as well, pacing the Crusaders in the latter two categories.  His total of 55 steals also marked the sixth-most in a single season in Valpo history.

 

Coming aboard at Valparaiso as a sophomore in 2009-2010, Wood was tabbed the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and was a Second-Team All-League selection after leading the Horizon League in scoring at 17.7 points per game.  Also a member of the NABC All-District 12 Second Team, Wood led the Crusaders in scoring 17 times and scored 20 or more points on 12 occasions.  Along the way, he set a new Valparaiso Division I single-game record, as well as a Legends Classic record, by dropping 39 points at Georgia Southern, and also scored 30 points at #6/4 North Carolina.

 

Wood began his college career at Southern Illinois in 2007-08. He appeared in just six games before suffering a season-ending leg injury, averaging 11.3 minutes and 3.7 points in those contests. He showed a glimpse of his scoring prowess early, hitting 6-of-9 shots for 15 points in a win over Northern Illinois . Because he played only six games he was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA.

 

After the season, Wood transferred to Highland Community College in Freeport , Ill. He played one season for the Cougars, leading Highland to a seventh-place finish at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, averaging 16.1 points and 3.0 assists.