MSU Basketball Recruiting Round-Up (9/27/12)

Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Jabari Parker has to reschedule his visit to Michigan State but The Only Colors is ready to tell you why that might be a good thing. We also have updates on Tyus Jones, Keita Bates-Diop, Hyron Edwards, and other MSU basketball recruits.

This post was originally intended as a preview for Jabari Parker’s visit this weekend but he had to cancel the trip at a late date. Dave Telep assured us not to "read into it" and that’s probably wise. In fact, let me spin the cancellation as a positive. It was relatively unconventional for Jabari Parker to follow his numerous September in-homes with coaches by taking an unofficial visit anywhere. You could have interpreted that as suggesting that Jabari intended to visit MSU then travel for five more official visits (five is the limit) to other schools. It would be a major tax on the schedule to fit those in and still make a November decision for early signing. Parker has given some interviews lately suggesting that he’s thinking about making a decision later this winter and then signing in April but the shifting of visit schedules could mean that the Parker family is getting organized on five officials to meet an early signing goal. A trip to Duke at the end of October appears to be the only visit truly confirmed and I suspect that if Parker makes it to both Duke and MSU next month, he'll be ready to make a decision. Now, if Parker start scheduling visits beyond the third weekend of November, ignore everything I just wrote.

Speaking of recruiting Parker and another of MSU’s 2013 targets James Young, TilltheBitterEnd has this informative FanPost where he breaks down some of the roster situations facing Parker and Young at their various finalists. It's well worth a read if you want more detail. My two cents are in the comments – I think Jabari is almost guaranteed to jump in and start no matter which school he selects and so I don’t expect the depth chart to be a big factor. Young might be in more of a predicament. He’ll be facing strong competition wherever he goes provided guard twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison select Kentucky. If they don’t, a huge PT door might open for Young in Lexington. At MSU, he’s unlikely to replace Gary Harris and Branden Dawson as a starter unless one of them leaves early. Perhaps that might be a nice spot for Young – he could battle Brandon Kearney, Denzel Valentine, and Russell Byrd to be the first wing off the bench. Getting key bench player minutes and providing some instant scoring might be just the ticket to maintain his one-and-done NBA draft status without getting exposed and broken down having to carry a big load as a freshman. He should get a clearer idea where he stands with Kentucky when he arrives there for an unofficial visit this weekend.

Memphis senior PF Jonathan Williams is the player who does appear to be visiting this weekend. This recruitment has been very quiet in terms of Michigan State's involvement but that doesn't mean it isn't for real. Williams has recently seen Georgetown, Tennessee, and Missouri. He'll close with this stop-in to Michigan State and then Texas on 10/12. It isn't clear how Williams fits into the grand scheme of MSU recruiting with returning young players Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello in addition to future forward targets like Cliff Alexander and, of course, Jabari Parker. Coach Izzo wouldn't be recruiting a player from as far away as Memphis and bringing him in for an official unless there was sincere mutual interest. This is a full "trust in Izzo" recruitment to me.

Moving to 2014 players, a name to keep getting familiar with is Keita Bates-Diop. He picked up an Indiana offer this week and has the attention of the cream and Crean (har har!) of the Big Ten with offers from Ohio State, Purdue, and Michigan. According to his AAU program, Tom Izzo was in himself this week to visit with the forward, who might soon be the recipient of an MSU offer. Bates-Diop is a long wing forward who could be another key piece to the 2014 class playing something like the role Raymar Morgan did for MSU.

Like his friend Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones is now blogging for USA Today High School Sports. They're light, getting-to-know-you type of blogs where you’re more likely to hear about a player’s love of Jay-Z than you are to get any major tells about recruiting. The best segment about recruiting says:

My boy Jahlil (Okafor) is supposed to be coming along with me {to Duke and UNC} so hopefully we can get down there and have a good time together. I know he told everyone that we’re planning to play together in college and that’s 100 percent true. I think us planning visits together should prove that we’re serious about that. Right now it’s just us two, but we’ve had conversations about trying to bring a few guys with us to form a power class. We haven’t really narrowed down specifically who we’d want, but we’re working on that.

That continues to be an exciting thought for schools in pursuit of the duo and, again, Jones is right that we should take them seriously. It’s intriguing to speculate about Jones and Okafor’s "power class." Could Jones be interested in bringing along top 25 Minnesota guard Rashad Vaughn? Does Jahlil want to play with other stars of the Chicago area like Cliff Alexander and Paul White? Have they both taken a shine to Milwaukee’s Kevon Looney between Chicago and Apply Valley? All of this is fun speculation but little more right now. None of these players appear close to wrapping up their recruitment but it might only take one or two to make the dominoes start to fall.

Speaking of Kevon, an unnamed MSU assistant was in to visit him this week according to NY2LASports. At a quick 6'7", Looney would fill a similar spot in the class as Bates-Diop. You can watch Looney in footage from this spring here in a new package from PrepHoopsTV.

In the realm of the sophomores, Ryan Fazekas visited Michigan State last weekend. Fazekas is a 6’7" player known as an ace shooter and also for a major growth spurt that added six inches in a short span of time. Because he’s young and still growing, Fazekas projects as a combo forward or even stretch-4 in college. Fazekas recapped his visit from Michigan City, Indiana to East Lansing in an article for HoopsIndiana.com.

Also in attendance was sophomore point guard Hyron Edwards. While Fazekas lists numerous schools of interest but few offers, Edwards is already viewed as a nationally elite recruit ranked 11th overall in the early 2015 rankings by ESPN. Playing out of East Chicago, Edwards has shown interest in Big Ten basketball and has been a repeat visitor to the University of Michigan. It’ll be interesting to see how these in-state rivals pursue one of the country’s best young floor generals.

Karl Towns Jr., the top five 2015 center from New Jersey, is planning at least five visits for the fall. He's currently targeting Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Florida for trips.

To come full circle, we’ll check back in with coverage for when Jabari Parker makes plans to come back to Michigan State. Some dates that make sense are Oct. 12-14 and Nov. 2-4. Those are two weekends during which Michigan State has a home football game and that seems to be a common part of big-time official visits, even for basketball players. As for Nov. 2-4, I've heard a rumor that Parker might be eying a visit to DePaul for that slot. Choosing that first weekend for MSU would not only give Jabari access to the experience of Homecoming against Iowa but he’d also be present for the Midnight Madness events to kick off basketball season. And, of course, Jabari could attend The Only Colors tailgate which I’m sure he’ll be anxious to be a part of. We’ll have his nametag ready.

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