Scout has released their first extensive rankings for 2013 and ESPN recently updated theirs as well. Rankings are an imperfect science and it’s great fun for fanbases to argue over who should be ranked where, what ranking service have a bias for whom, and whether a player is hurt by committing early. In the end, rankings are useful for those of us who can’t get out to see all these players. Because it's fun to debate and compare, I’ve updated the 2013 Hotlist to reflect any changes.
The recent shake-up has put some MSU targets in new positions. The big news is the rise of Troy wing forward James Young to a consensus five-star player. He still rests as a high four-star in the older Rivals appraisal but both ESPN and Scout have elevated him up a notch. He’s currently all the way up to No. 10 in the country on ESPN and No. 16 on Scout. This same summer that elevated his stock was viewed in person by Tom Izzo and staff so it may be difficult to hold off on offering much longer. Does he have to wait over two months for Gary Harris to decide or will Young's situation with MSU change before November? Can Izzo fit Gary Harris, Drake Harris, and Young all while holding a spot for Jabari Parker? One thing to consider – Parker is likely to be a one-and-done, meaning he might not effect a ’14 player like Drake Harris much at all.
A few other player-of-interest notes on the newer rankings:
Dominic Woodson, a big PF and the latest player to claim an MSU offer, debuted in the first Scout rankings as a four-star and the No. 87 player in the country. He’s leaving Texas and headed to prep school in Vermont. Does this increased proximity to the Midwest help MSU stay in contact or make Woodson more likely to head somewhere like UConn on the East Coast? MSU basketball historically does not pursue prep school athletes actively but they’re also looking at D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera so Izzo may be willing to make an exception.
After getting lots of good press over the summer, Flint PG Monte Morris has finally cracked a ranking, appearing at No. 50 on Scout (ahead of Derrick Walton and Demetrius Jackson. Curious.) Once talked about as neck-and-neck with Walton, his MSU interest could pick up with Walton off the board to Michigan. Right now, the staff appears to be focusing on Demetrius Jackson who intends to visit soon. Depending on how serious MSU is with him, the talk of passing on a 2013 point guard may have been hastier than originally thought.
The continued buzz around Detroit wing Byron Zeigler has paid off. His early rankings were surprisingly high but he’s done little to drop and now sits as the 37th player in the country according to Scout. In true ranking disparity, he’s only a low three-star on ESPN. Despite the full-house at Indiana, Zeigler has serious interest from the Hoosiers along with Michigan State, Iowa State, Indiana, Central Michigan and Xavier. Is Zeigler’s game strong enough to become a part of a busy wing roster at MSU as well?
Oh, and this guy named Parker is still outstandingly good.