Summer is a time when recruiting pictures come into clearer focus and this one has been no exception for MSU. As I said on twitter last week, it looks more and more like the future point guard Plan A, B, C, D, etc. is Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, MN. Demetrius Jackson has added multiple suitors to his once two-horse race of Notre Dame and MSU while the Spartans are no longer even talked about as recruiting him. He took an official visit to Illinois last weekend to get a recruiting pitch from new coach John Groce. Kansas is a prime contender as well and Jackson has discussed visits to Louisville and Kentucky. I think this leaves no doubt that MSU is out of this one. To drop from a top two to out of the picture suggests a hard, complete break. It’s reasonably clear that Coach Izzo is no longer recruiting Demetrius Jackson.
The heralded 2013 in-state class is almost completely wrapped up. A continuing-to-rise Derrick Walton will square off with MSU by playing for Michigan, Monte Morris will join the Mitten State friendly squad at Iowa State, and Denzel Watts just dropped last week for UAB. Wes Clark rose from almost off the map to accepting a scholarship to play in the Big 12 at Missouri, a true success story for him. Dontel Highsmith of Dowagiac is still out there but his ceiling appears to be mid-major. Barring something unforeseen, the door is shut on Michigan State talking a point guard in 2013, at least in the early signing period.
That turns nearly all the attention to Tyus Jones. According to Charley Walters of the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press, Jones has a busy fall with trips planned to Baylor, Kentucky, UNC, and Duke. It’s no surprise that the consensus No. 1 PG in 2014 wants to see the nation’s elite. It shouldn’t worry MSU fans much. Jones has already visiting Michigan State and this may be preparation to narrow down his list. Under new NCAA rules, juniors can begin taking official visits on January 1st so this could influence a decision timetable for Tyus.
More after the jump...
The pursuit of another wing player in the 2014 class for MSU has shown no signs of slowing down. Friend of Drake Harris and former Grand Rapids resident Keita Bates-Diop received accolades from Roy Schmidt for being the Illinois player of the summer. His impressive showings expanded his offer list to OSU, Purdue, Michigan, Marquette, DePaul, Illinois, and others. Bates-Diop is regarded as a Top 50 and if you’re just getting introduced to him, UMHoops has this excellent summary.checked out East Lansing early last month and the Spartans will welcome another junior in Keita Bates-Diop for a visit on September 15th.
Michigan State is also working on bringing in coveted wing 2014 Kevon Looney for a visit from Wisconsin. Looney’s recruitment is just getting started and he’s made scant progress working with a long list fitting of a five-star player. He told NY2LA.com that MSU Assistant Coach Dane Fife has invited him to this fall’s Midnight Madness but he has not yet picked a destination. Looney has offers from Tennessee, Marquette, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Texas, and Florida.
Jabari Parker took looks at BYU and Stanford on trips out west. According to his father, the BYU visit should be followed by some serious conversations about Jabari’s fall officials. Despite these check-ins, I still think the public consensus is accurate. MSU is in great shape, if not the clear leader, with Duke and Kentucky the two teams most likely to make a push.
In addition to the number of football recruits in for the Boise State game, MSU welcomed three basketball players as well - 2015 PF Trevor Manuel, 2016 SF Josh Jackson, and 2016 SG Algevon Eichelberger. The first two are well-known in recruiting circles. Manuel already claims an MSU offer and is set for big things in his upcoming sophomore season for Lansing Sexton. Jackson is being hyped as one of the best players in his class as a 6’6" freshman. Eichelberger may not be a household name yet but the early returns have him one of the better young players in the state. If he’s a totally new name, Steve Bell has some insight about him in this MLive article offering evaluations from the Bank Hoops Underclassman Camp. That article as a whole is a nice initiation into the upcoming Michigan classes. More of those players should end up on the Michigan State radar before their high school careers are over.
In more 2015-2016 news, Karl Towns Jr. took a trip near the southern coast to visit UNC, Duke, and NC State. Though he made a splash recently in the Spartan fanbase by hanging with MSU recruiting ace Draymond Green, another photo with Anthony Davis might be just as telling about his future destination (and Towns’ size!).
James Young has reportedly left the Troy school system in order to attend Rochester. The word is that his family has moved to the school district so he should be immediately eligible. It’s not clear what effect, if any, this move will have on his recruitment. All reports still have Kentucky heavily out in front.
So, what’s next? 2013 recruiting should start to move fast. It almost feels like James Young and Jabari Parker are slightly behind the normal pace of scheduling. There’s plenty of time yet but this is the typical window when recruits intending to sign in the early period are formally setting up schedules for official visits in September and October. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that shakeout quickly before this article slides down the main page. A visit from Jabari Parker may be the moment for MSU to seal the deal while winning over James Young would be one of Tom Izzo's bigger recruiting upsets. There’s some talk that Kentucky may have other players ahead of Young such as the guard duo Harrison twins but I find it hard to believe that Young would be out at Kentucky because of a lack of scholarship space. When we next check in, I’ll probably be talking about those upcoming official visits for some of the best in 2013.