Thanks to Con-T for bringing this to my attention: Apparently playing with Branden Dawson during the AAU season has paid off for 6'0" Ohio PG Travis Trice and he is now receiving attention from MSU to go with offers from Ohio schools like OU, Toledo, Dayton, as well as other programs. According to Brian Snow of Rivals (via Con-T, again), he's on campus today. As a 2011 recruit, it appears Izzo is still open to making a true point guard part of that class and likes Trice enough to bring him in.
As has been discussed extensively in the comments, the MSU basketball recruiting picture got a shake-up in the past week when it became widely reported that 2012 Lansing point guard/wing Denzel Valentine had received a scholarship offer from Tom Izzo and Michigan State. With the high number of perimeter players already committed and prospects like Branden Dawson and Gary Harris high on MSU, many believed Valentine was in the group of players who would have to wait and hope for a Spartan offer. However, an outstanding July brought lots of attention to his Lansing area standout and produced offers not only from MSU but Butler and Wisconsin as well.
On top of this surprising (and for me, positive) development, a few recruiting links have popped up and we can move our general discussion here for August. Let's look to the future...
Conflicting reports too numerous to mention surfaced that Jakarr Sampson had or had not named a top 3 of Baylor, Kansas, and St. Johns. Whether these schools lead for Sampson or not, the important point for MSU fans is that the final choice of official visits (he has five to take) and MSU's possible inclusion will reveal the presence of smoke or fire in MSU's involvement.
Gary Harris continued to play well and show why he's a consensus top 25 sort of player. According to InsideTheHall, he not only showed a complete offensive game at the End of the Season Showdown, but he proved himself to be a hardworker on the defensive end as well. Sounds like an Izzo player to me.
Branden Dawson testified to Tom Izzo's dedication by mentioning that he was in the stands for every one of his games this summer. Izzo has said that you can tell who he's recruiting by what games he attends and that nugget indicates that Dawson probably has a scholarship offer all the way into next April if he wants to wait.
We can't forget about already committed players and the Spartan family received good news when Branden Kearney was added to the roster for the USA Olympic Youth Team. He'll be representing his country and future university in Singapore starting next week.
Already noted in the comments but Brian Gregory and Dayton raided the 2011 Michigan class and picked up verbals from both Detroit Southeastern's Percy Gibson and Lansing Eastern's LaDontae Henton. Those are two guys who weren't quite up for MSU offers but are going to be major assets in the A-10. I'm particularly excited to see Henton develop into a major contributor for Dayton.
I've said a lot in the comment threads already but my thoughts on the Valentine offer go like this: First, with his family's extensive involvement with MSU and his father's playing time under Jud Heathcote, MSU has to be the prohibitive favorite to land his services. Proceeding from that assumption, a few ideas -
1. MSU has a new primary recruiting question. For me, it's not longer who is going to back up Keith Appling at PG. Between Kearney, Anderson, and Valentine, the minutes will be there to spell KA until the next true point guard arrives (2013?). For me (and others based on your comments), is how thin does MSU want to run on the post roster? Do you only take one of Matt Costello or Mike Shaw in order to keep room for both Gary Harris and Branden Dawson? If players like a beefed-up Russell Byrd and combo-forward like Kenny Kaminski can help down low, the risk is lower but an early exit by Adreian Payne or an injury could deplete the MSU frontcourt quickly under that scenario. That said, both Harris and Dawson may be too great of talents in their own rights to nitpick about roster balance.
2. I think the suggestion that Izzo "doesn't really want" Valentine or wishes he didn't have to offer him but did so to deny John Beilein at UM is pretty far-fetched. Yes, you don't want to see the best in-state players go to your rivals. Yes, aspects of UM's struggles help MSU recruiting. However, first and foremost, a player Tom Izzo offers has be able to play and play well for Michigan State. You don't attempt to fill your wing roster with Denzel Valentine when athletes like Harris and Dawson are out there unless you 100% believe that he'lll be an asset to your team on this own merits. Besides, if this line of reasoning mentioned above was accurate, MSU would be all over Javonte Hawkins too and there's not indication that's happening. Izzo offered Valentine because he's a top notch player and a legacy.
P.S Teaser - what do you think about discussing high school students' Facebook updates? I think it's kind of weird, but to each his or her own...