FanPost

MSU Basketball Recruiting Outlook for 2014 class, my take

Andy Lyons

(Bump - Lot of hard work put together here. Sorry I missed it a few days ago. Also, note that D'Angelo Russell has since selected Ohio State - Chris)

So I started working on this a few days before the latest recruiting round-up was published. As always the recruiting round-up was AWESOME and basically made my project a moot point, but I figured I would finish it out and post it because hopefully some of you guys find it interesting!

I am warning you now (and I did not realize this before I decided to post this...) but this thing is LOOOOOOOOOOOONG, let me know what you think and all of the many things I missed!

School-by-School:
Projected Roster Outlook for 2014-15 Season
Current 2014 Commits
Current 2014 Offers & Best-Guess Recruiting Plans-of-Attack

MSU Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Keith Appling*

Travis Trice

Open*

2

Gary Harris*

Denzel Valentine

Alvin Ellis

3

Branden Dawson*

Russell Byrd

Open*

4

Adreian Payne*

Kenny Kaminski

5

Matt Costello

Gavin Schilling

MSU 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

MSU OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

Plan--A, B, C

Cliff Alexander

C/PF, 6'8", 230

Chicago, IL (Curie)

8

5

A

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Kevon Looney

PF/F, 6'8", 200

Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee Hamilton)

7

8

A

Devin Booker

SG, 6'4", 185

Moss Point, MS (Moss Point High)

19

23

A

Tyler Ulis

PG, 5'8", 150

Chicago Heights, IL (Marian Catholic)

NR

69

B

Reid Travis

PF, 6'8", 240

Minneapolis, MS (De La Salle High)

40

41

B

Abdul-Malik Abu

PF, 6'8", 220

Boston, MA (Kimball Union Academy)

53

50

B

Jordan Barnett

SF, 6'7", 185

Saint Lousi, MO (Christian Brothers)

NR

83

B-C

MSU Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1-2 PG

Tyus Jones

Tyler Ulis

Both (Ulis RS)

1-2 Wings

Kevon Looney/Devin Booker

Jordan Barnett

Kevon Looney

1-2 Bigs

Cliff Alexander & Jahlil Okafor

Reid Travis, Abdul-Malik Abu

Plan A





Comments: It seems that MSU is in very good position to get 3-5 very high-level prospects. The depth chart will be wide-open, which many competitors cannot say; I am guessing that we see another couple of wing prospects come onto the radar. I think Izzo get's his big-fish...more analysis to come in MSU 2014 Predictions section. Also, be on the lookout for D'Angelo Russell--the more I read/research it seems like our interest is really picking up on this guy... (D'Angelo Russell has now committed to Ohio (State), and is no longer in play for MSU.)

MSU Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Tyus Jones

Travis Trice

Tyler Ulis (RS)

2

Denzel Valentine

Alvin Ellis

3

Kevon Looney

Russell Byrd

4

Cliff Alexander

Kenny Kaminski

5

Jahlil Okafor

Matt Costello

Gavin Schilling (RS)

Duke Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Quinn Cook

Tyler Thornton*

Open*

2

Rasheed Sulaimon*

Matt Jones

Andre Dawkins*

3

Jabari Parker*

Rodney Hood

Semi Ojeyele

4

Amile Jefferson

Josh Hairston*

Alex Murphy

5

Marshall Plumlee

***

Duke 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

Grayson Allen

SG

Starter/Rotation

36

32

B

Duke OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A, B, C

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Trey Lyles

PF, 6'8" 210

Indianapolis, IN (Arsenal Technical)

4

4

A

Rashad Vaughn

SG, 6'6", 200

Minneapolis, MN (Robbinsdale Cooper)

9

6

A

Justise Winslow

SF, 6'5", 205

Houston, TX (Saint John's)

10

10

A

Kevon Looney

PF/F, 6'8", 200

Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee Hamilton)

7

8

B

Devin Booker

SG/G/F, 6'4", 185

Moss Point, MS (Moss Point High)

19

23

B

Josh Perkins

PG, 6'3", 185

Denver, CO (Regis Jesuit)

41

42

B

Phil Booth

SG, 6'2", 170

Baltimore, MD (Mount St Joesph)

35

76

C

Kaleb Joseph

PG, 6'3", 165

Nashua, NH (Cushing Academy)

54

44

C

Duke Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1 PG

Tyus Jones

Perkins or Joseph

1-2 Plan B PGs

1-2Wings

Rashad Vaughn & Justise Winslow

Devin Booker or Phil Booth

Justise Winslow

2 Bigs

Trey Lyles & Jahlil Okafor

Kevon Looney

Trey Lyles





Comments: I REALLY doubt that Cook goes pro before his senior year, which would cast a pall over a Tyus Jones commitment. I am betting that Trey Lyles commits to Duke (his other choice being UK--who has Karl Towns who is the sam player...), and that Marshall Plumlee mans the C for Duke. They already have 1 wing, and will be returning 3 high quality wing players, so my guess is they look at other bigs, and maybe add Winslow.

Duke Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Quinn Cook

Josh Perkins

2

Matt Jones

Justise Winslow

3

Rodney Hood

Semi Ojeyele

Alex Murphy

4

Trey Lyles

Amile Jefferson

5

Marshall Plumlee

Big-to-be-named

Kentucky Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Andrew Harrison*

Jarrod Polson

Dominique Hawkins

2

Aaron Harrison*

***

3

Alex Poythress (may stay)*

James Young

4

Julius Randle*

Kyle Wiltjer

Marcus Lee

5

Willie Cauley-Stein*

Dakari Johnson

Derek Willis

Kentucky 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

Karl Towns Jr

C/PF, 7'1", 235

Starter

5

11

A

Kentucky OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A, B, C

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Rashad Vaughn

SG, 6'6", 200

Minneapolis, MN (Robbinsdale Cooper)

9

6

A

Cliff Alexander

C/PF, 6'8", 230

Chicago, IL (Curie)

8

5

A

Emmanuel Mudiay

PG, 6'4", 190

Arlington, TX (Prime Prep Academy)

3

2

A

Trey Lyles

PF, 6'8" 210

Indianapolis, IN (Arsenal Technical)

4

4

A

Stanley Johnson

SF, 6'6", 220

Fullerton, CA (Mater Dei)

15

12

A

Devin Booker

SG/G/F, 6'4", 185

Moss Point, MS (Moss Point High)

19

23

B

Kentucky Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1-2PG

Emmanuel Mudiay

Tyus Jones

Emmanuel Mudiay

2-3 Wings

Rashad Vaughn & Stanley Johnson

Devin Booker & yet-to-be-named

Rashad Vaughn & Stanley Johnson, (+ 1)

1-2 Bigs

Trey Lyles or Cliff Alexander

Big-to-be-named

Big-to-be-named





Comments: Because Calipari already has Cauley-Stein and Randle for this coming year, that means that Dakari Johnson, Kyle Wiltjer, and Marcus Lee will all be coming off the bench. Looking ahead to the 2014 class, Calipari already has Karl Towns Jr. who like to play an Adreian Payne style of PF game. My guess is that Marcus Lee, Kyle Wiltjer, and Dakari Johnson all stay for the 2014-15 season, and that neither Cliff, nor Jahlil Okafor, nor Trey Lyles go to UK. I think for his PG Mudiay is his ideal (big, athletic, aggressive--a la John Wall) and that he will get him. I think Rashad Vaughn goes to UK to pair with James Young and/or Poythress (who may be a 3 year guy...) or Stanley Johnson. In short I think that this creates a "down-year" recruiting-wise for UK, but leaves them with a terrific team

Kentucky Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Emmanuel Mudiay

Jarrod Polson

Dominique Hawkins

2

Rashad Vaughn

3

James Young

Stanley Johnson

4

Karl Towns Jr.

Kyle Wiltjer

5

Dakari Johnson

Marcus Lee

Derek Willis

Kansas Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Naadir Tharpe

Conner Frankamp

Frank Mason

2

Rio Adams

Brannen Greene

3

Andrew Wiggins*

Wayne Selden

Andrew White III

4

Perry Ellis

Jamari Traylor

Justin Wesley

5

Tarik Black*

Joel Embiid

Landen Lucas

Kansas 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Kansas OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A, B, C

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Rashad Vaughn

SG, 6'6", 200

Minneapolis, MN (Robbinsdale Cooper)

9

6

A

Justise Winslow

SF, 6'5", 205

Houston, TX (Saint John's)

10

10

A

Emmanuel Mudiay

PG, 6'4", 190

Arlington, TX (Prime Prep Academy)

3

2

A

Kevon Looney

PF/F, 6'8", 200

Milwaukee, WI (Milwaukee Hamilton)

7

8

A

Jordan McLaughlin

PG, 6'0", 155

Rancho Cucamonga, CA (Etiwanda HS)

23

33

B

Stanley Johnson

SF, 6'6", 220

Fullerton, CA (Mater Dei)

15

12

B

Josh Perkins

PG, 6'3", 185

Denver, CO (Regis Jesuit)

41

42

B

Abdul-Malik Abu

PF, 6'8", 220

Boston, MA (Kimball Union Academy)

53

50

B

Isaiah Whitehead

SG, 6'4", 195

Brooklyn, NY (Lincoln HS)

46

19

B

Kelly Oubre

SF, 6'6", 190

Fort Bend, TX (Bush HS)

43

27

B

Isaac Haas

C, 7'1", 275

Hokes Bluff, AL (Hokes Bluff HS)

NR

58

B

Ahmed Hill

SG, 6'5", 190

Augusta, GA (Aquinas HS)

25

26

B

Kansas Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1-2 Guards/Wings

Jones, Vaughn, Winslow, Mudiay

McLaughlin, Johnson, Perkins, Whitehead, Oubre, Hill

One of the plan B Guards

1-2 Bigs

Okafor, Looney

Abu, Haas (and Myles Turner-fast rising late-bloomer)

either Haas or Myles Turner





Comments: Bill Self's team is going to have a big year in 2013-14, but I don't think he is going to lose many of his players. Andrew Wiggins will be gone, for sure, but I think that Tarik Black (recent transfer from Memphis) will really take a lot of minutes that would've otherwise gone to Embiid--a fast-rising center prospect. Embiid probably could have gone 1-and-done after next season if Black hadn't joined, but I think he will stay another year. I am very doubtful that Naadir Tharpe leaves after this year, but I think he will be a very good player this year, and will be poised for greatness his senior year. Filling out the back court/wings will be Rio Adams, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene, and Wayne Selden---I doubt very much that any of these guys leave after this coming season, which means the backcourt and wings will be pretty much full...I doubt very much that any of the top 2014 PG prospects head to Kansas. They might get a guy like Oubre or Whitehead, who sit for a year before becoming studs... looking back to the front court I doubt very much that Embiid leaves after a year, or that Perry Ellis, Traylor, or Lucas leave, which means that I think that Self will have probably 8-10 guys returning and almost no new additions. I think 2014 will be a year of secondary prospects for Kansas, before they heat up again in 2015. To wit, they just added Jerrance Howard to the staff, so the guys he will be most impactful with are the next set of Chicago/Illinois kids (of which there appear to be a bunch (including DJ williams and Charles Matthews)--that way he can really build the relationship for a few years, vs trying to loop back in to this most recent Chicago group. I think Kansas ends up with 1-2 guys who are on the second or third tier of prospects, and they don't bat an eyelash because they will be returning almost an entire Final 4 roster...

Kansas Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Naadir Tharpe

Conner Frankamp

Frank Mason

2

Rio Adams

Brannen Greene

Isaiah Whitehead

3

Wayne Selden

Andrew White III

4

Perry Ellis

Jamari Traylor

Justin Wesley

5

Joel Embiid

Landen Lucas

Isaac Haas

Baylor Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Kenny Cherry

Allerik Freeman

Open*

2

Brady Heslip*

Gary Franklin*

Open*

3

Ishmail Wainright

***

Open*

4

Ricardo Gathers*

Cory Jefferson*

5

Isaiah Austin*

Johnathan Motley

Baylor 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

Baylor OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A, B, C

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Rashad Vaughn

SG, 6'6", 200

Minneapolis, MN (Robbinsdale Cooper)

9

6

A

Justise Winslow

SF, 6'5", 205

Houston, TX (Saint John's)

10

10

A

Emmanuel Mudiay

PG, 6'4", 190

Arlington, TX (Prime Prep Academy)

3

2

A

Leron Black

PF, 6'7", 215

Memphis, TN (White Station HS)

11

16

A

Cliff Alexander

C/PF, 6'8", 230

Chicago, IL (Curie)

8

5

A

Kelly Oubre

SF, 6'6", 190

Fort Bend, TX (Bush HS)

43

27

B

Khadeem Lattin

C, 6'9", 190

Houston, TX (Redemption Christian Homeschool)

NR

85

B

Myles Turner

C, 6'11", 225

Euless, TX (Trinity HS)

NR

78

B

Baylor Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1-2PG

Emannuel Mudiay or Tyus Jones

Probably another Juco

Plan B (Juco guard, or yet-to-be-named)

2-3 Wings

Justise Winslow, Rashad Vaughn

Kelly Oubre (and other low tier guys)

Winslow (maybe), or Oubre

2-3 Bigs

Jahlil Okafor, Leron Black, Cliff Alexander

Khadeem Lattin, Myles Turner

Black, and 1 or both plan B bigs





Comments: Frankly, I have no idea how a top-level recruit would ever want to play for Scott Drew. The man has done nothing but recruit top-level talent and do nothing with it (except for 1 Final Four run back in 2010). This year will be a huge "prove-it" year for him I think as he returns 3 of his top 4 players, in cluding future draft picks (Austin, Gathers, and Jefferson). He is certainly playing with the big-boys though as far as recruiting going after the same guys that Kentucky, Kansas, (MSU), and Duke are aiming for (and OSU). I don't know that he will hit many as many big wins this coming year though. I am betting that he misses on the top two point guards, and gets another Juco or lower-tier guy (yet to be named), but I do think he has a great chance to get Justise Winslow who is a local kid, and would be THE star on the team along with Leron Black (who comitted early, then decommitted, and, I am betting, will recommit to Baylor). He also has a great shot to get Oubre, who is also a Texas kid---both he and Justise Winslow are from the Houston area, about 3 hours from Waco (Winslow's family would not get to see him play at Duke...). I am betting that he also gets 1-2 of the plan B bigs, which will leave him in pretty good shape moving forward. Alternatively, if he does not have a good season this year (given all the returning talent), which is possible seeing as how I don't think the guy can coach his way out of a hat-box, then his seat may very well heat up...

Baylor Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Kenny Cherry

Plan-B Guard

Open

2

Allerik Freeman

Plan-B Wing

Open

3

Ishmail Wainright

Plan-B Wing

Open

4

Leron Black

Johnathan Motley

5

Khadeem Lattin

Myles Turner

Ohio State Projected Roster (2014-15) (Graduating Seniors/Projected NBA-Draftee with * next to them)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Aaron Craft*

Shannon Scott

2

Lenzell Smith Jr*

Kameron Williams

3

Sam Thompson*

Marc Loving

Amedeo Della Valle

4

Laquinton Ross*

***

5

Amir Williams

Trey McDonald

Ohio State 2014 Commits

Name

Player info

Starter-Rotation-Bench-RS

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A,B,C

Jae'Sean Tate

SG, 6'5", 190

Rotation

52

73

A

David Bell

PF, 6'9" 200

Bench

NR

103

B

Keita Bates-Diop

PF, 6'7", 190

Starter

18

20

A

D'Angelo Russell

SG, 6'5"190

Starter/Rotation

24

22

A

Ohio State OFFERS--BASIC INFO

targets (offered)

Player info (Pos, Ht, Wt)

Hometown (HS)

ESPN #

Rivals #

~Plan--A, B, C

Tyus Jones

PG, 6'1", 171

Apple Valley, MN (Apple Valley)

2

3

A

Jahlil Okafor

C, 6'10", 275

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

1

1

A

Cliff Alexander

C/PF, 6'8", 230

Chicago, IL (Curie)

8

5

A

D'Angelo Russell

SG, 6'5"190

Louisville, KY (Monteverde Academy)

24

22

A

Jalen Lindsey

SF, 6'7" 180

Franklin, TN (Huntington Prep)

17

30

A

Leron Black

PF, 6'7", 215

Memphis, TN (White Station HS)

11

16

A

JaQuan Lyle

PG, 6'4", 185

Evansville, IN (Bosse HS)

16

17

A

Paul White

SF, 6'8", 185

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)

58

43

B

LJ Peak

SF, 6'5", 190

Chicago, IL (Whitney Young)--originally from SC

34

71

B

Ohio State Plan-of-Attack

Needs:

Plan A

Plan B

Best Guess:

1 PG

Tyus Jones or JaQuan Lyle

PG yet-to-be-named

yet-to-be-named

1-2 Wings

D'Angelo Russell and/or Lindsey

White and Peak

D'Angelo Russell and a Plan B guy

1 Bigs

Okafor, Alexander, Black

Big yet-to-be-named

either a Plan B big or no one





Comments: Ohio State is in great shape already for 2014 having Jae'Sean Tate and Keita Bates Diop locked up along with a depth Big in David Bell. Shannon Scott will be a very good PG moving into his senior year, and Amir Williams will be a spotlight player (theoretically), so I doubt very much that they land Tyus Okafor. I think they will probably add 1-2 more wing players and maybe a PG yet-to-be-named to this list, and then call it quits. I am betting that Sam Thompson stays for his senior year, even though I am projecting that he leaves. My honest guess is that with Craft and LaQuinton Ross as the stars of the team, along with Amir Williams (theoretically),Sam Thompson will stay, but for argument's/projections sake he is leaving. OSU has also just gotten a commitment from D'Angelo Russell, which is a great get for them and will ensures that their back-court/wings are solid for the next 3 years or so.

Ohio State Projected Roster (2014-15) (Best Case Roster--Spots All Spots Filled, projected lineups)

Position (#/position-group)

Starter

Bench

Bench

1

Shannon Scott

PG yet-to-be-named

Open

2

Jae'Sean Tate

Kameron Williams

D'Angelo Russell
(Committed)

3

Marc Loving

Amedeo Della Valle

4

Keita Bates Diop

David Bell

5

Amir Williams

Trey McDonald







Other specific "threats" to MSU targets:

School

Target

Threat Level/Comment

UM

Devin Booker

High/I think he chooses between UM and MSU

UK

Devin Booker

High/I think he chooses between UM and MSU--but UK could move on him if their top wing targets say no

UM

Kevon Looney

High/I think he chooses between UM, MSU, Duke, Marquette, and Wisconsin

Wisconsin

Kevon Looney

High/I think he chooses between UM, MSU, Duke, Marquette, and Wisconsin

Marquette

Kevon Looney

High/I think he chooses between UM, MSU, Duke, Marquette, and Wisconsin

MSU 2014 Predictions

Recruiting-Battle Deciding Recruits/Players-on-Competitor-Schools

School

Player

Affected Recruit

Prediction/Comment

Duke

Quinn Cook

Tyus Jones

I doubt Quinn Cook goes pro after his Junior year, which means that Tyus Jones would have to share the point with Quinn Cook. This is the single biggest question to play out this coming year. Hopefully Cook takes a step, but not a huge one. Prediction: Cook stays for his senior year and Jones goes elsewhere.

Duke

Rodney Hood

Justise Winslow

Rodney Hood will be sharing the SF/wing with Jabari Parker this year and will likely stay for another year so that he can be the BMOC his junior year. If he stays as "the star" Winslow looks elsewhere (especially if Matt Jones and Semi Ojeyele show well this next year).

Duke

Semi Ojeyele

Justise Winslow

Rodney Hood will definitely be good this year, but if he is not NBA ready (as I am betting he won't be), then Ojeyele will be scrapping for minuntes and looking for a big role his sophomore year (still from the bench), playing the exact same position that Winslow would hope to have.

Duke

Marshall Plumlee

Jahlil Okafor

Marshall Plumlee looked solid for a freshman second-tier big-man. He has good athleticism and agility, great height, and great pedigree. I am guessing that he does well this coming year and looks to be a star-in-the-making moving into the 2014-15 season. This would never scare Okafor away, but I am guessing that it helps muddy the waters of the Big-Three scenario...

Duke

Amile Jefferson

Kevon Looney/Trey Lyles

Amile Jefferson is reportedly bulking up and looking to really improve off of a strong Freshman season, I think he will take a step-up, but not be ready to leave after this year. I project him as part of a powerhouse line-up of returning players for Duke moving into the 2014-15 season.

Duke

Justise Winslow

Tyus Jones/Jahlil Okafor

Justise Winslow is great friends with Jones and Okafor, and there are many analysists predicting that all three end up attending Duke together. I think it is possible, but I doubt it will happen. Winslow is from Texas and has many other possible locations that would be much, much clearer for him roster-wise (Baylor, Florida, Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford will all have either starting or sole-back-up spots with his name on them, which Duke will not have). So while I rate the possibility of this trio ending up at Duke at about 55%, I am very doubtful that this happens. If Winslow commits to Duke early, the chances get higher...he is a very important non-MSU-recruit to track. The most important.

Duke

Trey Lyles

Kevon Looney

Trey Lyles an IU-decommit is looking at 6 schools (Duke, UK, Louisville, UCLA, Butler, and Florida), I am guessing he is really choosing between the first three, and really between Duke and Louisville. He is an inside-out PF, and a heck of a player. But he would be moving into a PF rotation with Jefferson (is my guess), and that may be too rich for him to swallow. If he does commit that basically takes Duke out of the Kevon Looney running. For MSU's purposes we want him to commit to Duke, UK, Louisville, or Florida (as these are all schools targeting Looney). An early commitment here, would be a great thing for MSU.


Kentucky

Dakari Johnson

Cliff Alexander & Jahlil Okafor

Dakari Johnson is a very good center prospect, a very complete player, who will be a dominant force on the collegiate level. The problem for him, that helps MSU's recruitment of Alexander and Okafor, is that he will be planted firmly behind Willie Cauley-Stein this year. A fact that, I believe, will ensure that he stays for another year. He may go "Daniel Orton," but I doubt it because Calipari has designs on him being the starting center to Karl Towns Jr.'s starting 4 (which would be an incredible duo). Keep an eye on Dakari Johnson--if he is breaking out and taking Cauley-Stein's minutes, then that is bad for MSU. The real challenge for MSU hopes is that the NBA loves potential and therefore may draft the kid even if he only plays 10-15 minutes a game (a la Daniel Orton---I will tell you now, Johnson is better than Orton was, so it would be a reasonable bet to take...). Bottom line: MSU wants this kid coming back for a sophomore campaign (from a recruiting stand-point that is).

Kentucky

Kyle Wiltjer

Cliff Alexander & Jahlil Okafor

Kyle Wiltjer is a solid, if unspectacular player, the least athletic kid to ever play for Calipari, he will not leave after this year (or rather I would be shocked if he did); he is simply a non-functional NBA athlete, who lacks the speed, strength, or agility to guard any NBA player let alone position. He will stay and continue to eat up minutes at the PF spot--I am sure that Calipari regrets ever signing him as he has really been a clog in the UK-NBA artery. However, if he does leave then the PF rotation opens up more for Alexander (and Okafor). If he somehow (I am trying not to laugh here) becomes a stud this year, then that will spell trouble for MSU's recruitment of Alexander.

Kentucky

Marcus Lee

Cliff Alexander & Jahlil Okafor

Marcus Lee is probably Calipari's greatest luxury this year, a second PF commit who will be fighting for back-up minutes. Calipari realizes that he needs experienced players to win a championship, and Lee is basically already locked in (I would imagine) as one of his "returning sophomores next year who is ready to breakout." From the MSU perspective, this is a very good thing. The more the UK PF/C rotation can be clogged by guys like Lee and Wiltjer, the less likely it is that either Alexander or Okafor (doubtful anyways) will go to UK. Again, if Lee blows up or takes all of the back-up PF minutes then that is a problem for MSU's recruitment of Cliff Alexander.

Kentucky

Alex Poythress

Devin Booker

Poythress was a mystery all season long his freshman year, not as talented as previous tweener-forwards he failed to impact the season or score consistently. Looking ahead to this season, nothing is guaranteed for him, which is why he is potentially an "MSU-helper." While clearly a SF Poythress may struggle to dominate this year. He will be the number 4-5 option on the court if he starts (behind the Harrisons, Cauley-Stein, and Randle), and the wings will be clogged by Aaron Harrison, James Young, and Wiltjer (stealing some SF minutes I am sure). He may find himself as a junior on this team (although something tells me that he will get shoved out the door by Calipari, but we will have to see on that), which would be good news for MSU's competeing wing recruitments like Devin Booker and D'Angelo Russell. Although they play the 2 and Poythress the 3, Calipari's wing-interchanging means that there are really 4 positions on the court: PG, Wingx2, PF, C. So while Booker would not be a direct replacement he would have to consider all other wing factors in the 2014-15 rotation as competitors for minutes. If Poythress goes pro, it is not the end of the world for MSU recruitments (especially because Booker is a low-tier back-up for UK), but it is not preferable.

Kentucky

James Young

Devin Booker

James Young should do very well at UK and should get plenty of run this year, but, because he is a freshman and it is foolish to predict freshmen seasons, he may not explode. If he struggles, and looks poised to return for a second year, then that will be great news for MSU's wing recruitments that conflict with UK. I predict that he goes pro after 1 year, but if he stays that would be great for MSU. Keep an eye on him and how many minutes he gets/how productive he is this coming season, especially early on. It will be fun to watch MSU's wings defned a guy, in the second game of the season, who never really considered MSU after Calipari came calling.

Kentucky

Emmanuel Mudiay

Tyus Jones

Mudiay is the prototypical UK point recruit. Big, fast, physical, an attacker, and more of a full-throttle guy. This is the guy that Calipari would love to have, more so than Tyus Jones I believe. If Mudiay commits then you can count UK out of the Jones/Okafor race. I believe it will happen, and I would not be surprised if it happens this summer or early in the fall. There are a lot of good point guards in this class, so if Mudiay does not commit UK will get some other good players, but I would be surprised if he did not end up at UK. If he does not go to UK MSU fans should hope he goes to Baylor or Kansas.

Kentucky

Trey Lyles

Cliff Alexander & Jahlil Okafor

Trey Lyles plays the same role, from the MSU perspective, that Wiltjer, Lee, and Dakari Johnson play: he makes an Alexander/Okafor commitment to UK much less likely. In fact, if Trey Lyles commits to UK then I would bet that Alexander commits to MSU and doesn't look back. I have covered his inside-out, polished game, and I am sure that his only hesitation about UK is the presence of Karl Towns Jr. who appears to play the exact same position/game that Lyles plays. It will be interesting to see where Lyles ends up, as Louisville is, I believe, the other major player. MSU fans want Lyles at either UK or Duke, as a commitment to either would help push either Kevon Looney or Cliff Alexander closer to MSU.

Kentucky

Rashad Vaughn

Devin Booker

Rashad Vaughn is the SG in the 2014 class. Great size, great stroke from distance, and a terrific ball-handler/driver/slasher. I don't have a ton of insight into his recruitment, but I would imagine that he is one of Calipari's top priorities. To replace the Harrison brothers, and probably James Young, as the primary perimeter scorer. From the MSU perspective, a Vaughn commit would cast a pall over any further pursuit of Devin Booker, who I believe is going to choose between UM, MSU, and Florida.


Kansas

Naadir Tharpe

Tyus Jones

In my initial Kansas comments I made it clear that I believe that Tharpe, like Quinn Cook at Duke, will have a solid if not quite star-making junior season. Both point guards have returning back-court and front-court players who should be the first and second options on their respective teams. Neither player oozes NBA potential in terms of measurables or athleticism, and I firmly believe that Tharpe (and Cook) will return for the senior seasons poised for a star turn. Both head coaches would love to see these junior oint guards become stars this coming season so that they can go to the NBA to make room for Jones (in Cook's case) or for either Jones or Mudiay (in Tharpe's case). I believe neither will take that big step, and that both coaches will settle for a second-tier point guard to groom for future seasons.

Kansas

Perry Ellis & Jamari Traylor

Kevon Looney

I doubt very much that Kevon Looney is a top priority for Bill Self, but he certainly would fit well in the Kansas program. However, for that to happen either Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, or both, would need to declare for the NBA draft. While I think both probably have late-first, early-second potential, the somewhat surprising commitment of Andrew Wiggins, paired with the commitments of other wing and front court players guarantee that neither player will have nearly as much of a percentage of the spotlight as they might have previously been predicited to have had going into the season. My guess is that Perry Ellis will end up as the 2nd or 3rd leading scorer, while Traylor will become a hustling/physical back-up PF. Wiggins, Selden, and maybe Rio Adams, will be the big-time players on this team is my guess, and I strongly believe that both Ellis and Traylor will return for another year at the Phog, all-but guaranteeing that Kevon Looney looks elsewhere. If either blows up this year then this recruiting story may change...but I doubt that will happen.

Kansas

Joel Embiid

Jahlil Okafor

Embiid is a guy I am very keen to watch, he has all of the hallmarks of a one-and-done guy based on his measureables; however, what is yet to be seen is his ability to contribute and be productive at a high-level at the college level. I would not be surprised if he moved ahead of Tarik Black (memphis graduate transfer) into the starting line-up, but I am not sure how productive he will be in terms of point production, rebounds, and blocks. If he is solid he may be draftable based on potential alone, but Bill Self has this neat habit of getting his potentially draft-able big guys who had solid, but not spectacular, season to return for another year. That is my guess with Embiid, especially now that Tarik Black will be playing for at least half of every game. It is very hard for an NBA exec to draft a big man based on 15 min/game, even if he is an agile and athletic 7'2" tall...If Embiid dominates, then Okafor comes into play very quickly, but if, as I predict, he is only OK, then Okafor becomes a distant memory for KU, something MSU fans will be crossing their fingers for.

Kansas

Brannen Greene & Wayne Selden

Justise Winslow

Brannen Greene and Wayne Selden are guys that I think will become absolute stars on the college level. MSU fans have to hope that at least one of them becomes a HUGE star THIS year, along with Andrew Wiggins. Brannen Greene comes in as an NBA-sized 2-guard (6'6"), and Selden comes in as a small, but powerful, athletic, and dynamic 3 (6'5"). If Brannen Greene (or Selden) can usurp Rio Adams's returner-hold on the starting 2, then there is a slight possibility that one of these guys joins Andrew Wiggins in the NBA draft next summer. If that happens the Justise Winslow will definitely become a possibility. With the modern recruits' affinity for going to schools that other great players who play thier position recently attended, Winslow might consider KU for Wiggins' commitment alone. But because he might have a great shot at starting at the wing for Kansas if either of these guys blows up, KU becomes a much more enticing proposition, not to mention it is about 500 miles closer to Houston, TX than Durham, NC...MSU fans ideal situation would be Winslow ending up at either KU or UCLA (where he just visited recently), because KU is not one of the biggest factors in the Tyus Jones/Jahlil Okafor recruitments. If Selden or Greene play a major role for KU this year along with Wiggins MSU fans should be excited, from a recruiting standpoint.


Baylor

Ricardo Gathers

Leron Black & Cliff Alexander

Ricardo Gathers will be the 3rd man in the 3-headed monster that is the Baylor frontcourt this coming season. It is possible that Rico will go pro--he has the body, the athleticism, the power--but, at the same time he has NONE of the skill of an NBA big man (especially not those that he would compete against in the draft, including his own teammates). My guess is that he returns to Baylor, poised to be one of their big stars. If that happens then look for Cliff Alexander to definitely look elsewhere (if he was ever really considering Baylor). This may also push Leron Black away from Baylor, but I do not think that Black and Gathers are mutually exclusive players, especially not in Scott Drew's let's just put the best guys we can recruit on the court, give them jerseys and a ball, and hope they win games method of coaching... if Gathers dominates and looks poised to go pro, then Alexander potentially comes more into play.

Baylor

Leron Black

Cliff Alexander

Leron Black committed to Baylor last year, only to decommit. He is from Memphis, TN, and has Baylor, UCONN, Florida, Illinios, NC State, OSU, and Tennessee on his list. I have no definite insight on where he is leaning; however, it should be noted that his HS and AAU teammate, PG Chris Chiozza just committed to Florida. I think that Baylor is still in play, and that is a good thing for MSU. We want Black to go to either Baylor, Illinois, or OSU. A commitment at any of these three would take them off of Cliff's radar I would imagine.

Baylor

Ishmail Wainright

Justise Winslow

Ishmail Wainright is a SF committed to Baylor who will be a freshman this year. There is no way that he will be a one-and-done player, but at the same time, there is no way that his presence will scare away Justise Winslow. Baylor must be considered among the first or second tier of schools he is looking at, and MSU fans can only hope that Winslow commits to Baylor. Even though they would definitely have the space to take both Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, I would think that it would be a major coup if those two "joined" Winslow in Waco if that is where the small forward ends up.

Baylor

Kenny Cherry

Tyus Jones

Kenny Cherry is a JuCo guard, looking to step into Pierre Jackson's vacant PG spot. I have no intel on this player whatsoever, but clearly, if he becomes a star (as Jackson did) Tyus Jones would be much less likely to join the Bears. MSU fans should be pulling for Cherry to succeed.

Baylor

Michael Dixon

(Kenny Cherry and Tyus Jones)

Michael Dixon (who got kicked out of Missouri after multiple alleged sexual misadventures) may end up transferring to Baylor. If he does he will try to get a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately this coming season, if he does not and has to sit out a year then that would cast immediate and strong doubt over the possibility of any Tyus Jones commitment. Dixon was a very good PG at Missouri, often their best player despite Phil Pressy's command on the starting spot. If Dixon lands at Baylor it would be a good thing for MSU--even if he plays immediately that merely gives Cherry a guaranteed year of spotlight his senior year, while Jones would clearly come in as the favorite in either situation, the muddier the waters are for MSU the better.

Baylor

Justise Winslow

Tyus Jones & Jahlil Okafor

As explained previously, Winslow is looking to partner with Jones and Okafor at Duke, which I view as a real possibility. But if he were to commit early to Baylor, he might put Baylor into a great position to continue functionally and hopefully recruiting the duo. MSU fans would ideally like for Winslow to end up at UCLA, followed by Kansas, then Florida, and only then Baylor. An early commitment by Winslow to Baylor (or Duke) surely puts MSU's chances with the duo in further jeopardy.

Baylor

Khadeem Lattin & Myles Turner

Jahlil Okafor

Khadeem Lattin and Myles Turner both fill in the second tier of bigs that Baylor are pursuing, and an early commitment by one or both of these two would, again, cloud the frontcourt picture, and push Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander further away from a commitment. Ideally for MSU, one or both of these two sign/commit to Baylor as soon as possible.


Ohio State

Shannon Scott

Tyus Jones

Where Naadir Tharpe and Quinn Cook, in my projections, present a potential roadblock to Tyus Jones filling a team's starting PG spot as returning starters, Shannon Scott mirrors Travis Trice: career back-ups leading into their senior years, both would do admirably as a senior starter, but both would probably best serve their teams as back-up to Tyus Jones. Shannon Scott is further along in his development and I think will be very strong this coming year (I doubt MSU is gifted any more game-altering mistakes from Shannon Scott...). I think Tyus Jones would clearly come in and start over Scott, so from an MSU perspective, we should hope that the gap between the two players narrows as much as possible if MSU is going to see Tyus Jones look away from OSU.

Ohio State

Amir Williams

Jahlil Okafor

Amir Williams...this guy should be really good, but just is not. That being said, this coming season his role and his expected out-put will really increase. If he can demonstrate any real competnecy then, again the Center position becomes much less obviously Okafor's. Yes, Okafor would come in and play, but Williams would also play a ton. And his competent presence alone would probably push Okafor away from OSU. Williams is in the same position that Plumlee is for Duke, the hope for MSU fans is that both Plumlee and Williams really see their games take off this coming year.

Ohio State

Keita Bates Diop

Cliff Alexander

Keita Bates Diop, a stud PF comit for this coming year should have the power-forward position locked up for the next 3-4 years (I cannot envision him leaving for the NBA before his junior season), which intrinsically should mean that Cliff Alexander does not put OSU in his top choices. The fact that Keita Bates Diop will probably have a lot of success this coming year, looking like a star moving into his sophomore campaign will guarantee it.

Ohio State

Jae'Sean Tate & Kameron Williams

D'Angelo Russell

Jae'Sean Tate & Kameron Williams, are the two wing players committed over the next two years already, which, as far as I can tell, should, from a minutes standpoint alone, put OSU on the outside looking in for D'Angelo Russell. Russell is a guy that has recent MSU interest, and might be a great fit for MSU--he is from Louisville, KY but is not being pursued by UK or heavily by Louisville. If MSU picks up interest the main competition may be Florida, Missouri, Memphis, UNC, and Arizona. I think that MSU coaches are feeling him out as a possible secondary target if Devin Booker goes elsewhere.


MSU Prediction Time for 2014 Class

Let's start with what I am confident of: Cliff Alexander. I am not sure what his timeline is for his recruitment, although he looks like a fall commit, but I am confident that all of the pieces that will move around him at MSU's various competitors, will lead him directly to MSU. We have been on him for a long time, he has a great relationship with the coaches, and Adrien Payne will serve, this coming season, as the ideal model for Cliff to emulate in his (likely) only season in college.

Looking at the Jones-Okafor recruitment process I am tentatively and possibly excited: the major player as we all know is Duke. Duke is big with both for one reason alone--Coach K; however, the roster situation that the two players might be facing at Duke as freshmen might make Duke one of their less-appealing options. To wit, Quinn Cook might be the most important non-MSU player for MSU fans to track as far as our recruitments go. If, as I predict, Cook will be very good but not great, and not 1st-round draft worthy (there are going to be a number of very good PG NBA prospects next year, and Cook does not have the measurables to separate himself from the second tier of PGs to safely declare and get drafted.), next year then I see him coming back to Duke as a senior PG, who has started the previous two seasons. While Tyus Jones may be terrific, there is no way that he would take all of Cook's minutes and relegate him to cheering from the bench as a senior. Then you look at the front court, Mashall Plumlee has shown us approximately 0 to date, and he is coming off of foot surgery this offseason, but he has great pedigree and solid athleticism. Furthermore, he is definitely a back-to-the-basket old school C, and will have a TON of opportunity this coming season. With no other centers on the roster, he will start as long as he is healthy (is my guess) and will probably blossom by the end of the season into a very solid player. Again, looking ahead to the 2014-15 year, a competent and veteran Plumlee will be very difficult to fully dislodge even for a top-level talent like Jahlil Okafor. I would predict that both players would come in and start, but I think that Cook/Plumlee would take more minutes from the duo than say Trice/Costello. Further complicating that scenario is Justise Winslow, who would really have a stacked depth chart to play his way into at Duke if he were to commit and try to team up with Tyus Okafor. I'm not saying it won't happen, but I doubt that it ends up that way. I would say that Duke is the leader for both, but not a prohibitive favorite. When looking at the other schools they have in common here is what I see: Baylor--worst coach, no track record of success; Kentucky--not pushing hard for a variety of reasons Jones isn't Cal's #1, the frontcourt will be packed and Cal prefers not to throw the ball into the post 20 times a game; Kansas--stacked frontcourt (with Embiid likely back for a second and final year before the lottery) and the second strongest returning PG (Tharpe) that Jones would have to unseat; OSU--third strongest PG that Jones would have to unseat (Scott), strongest (or tied with Embiid and possibly Dakari Johnson at Kentucky) returning center for Okafor to unseat. MSU would have the "weakest" returning PG for Jones to "unseat" in Trice (who is awesome, and I love him, but will simply not be as good as Cook, Tharpe, or Scott will be after this coming season (unless he makes a HUGE jump, in which case we would not even need Jones)), and certainly the weakest returning center for Okafor to unseat (of the serious candidates that is, which are Duke, UK, Kansas, OSU, and MSU--I just cannot possibly imagine these two at Baylor, who will have no center and no real challenge at PG, but also very little talent and very little depth and DEFINITELY the worst coach among the lot) in Costello. When looking at the combination of the three main factors: Coach, roster situation, and talent/depth/NCAA title chances, MSU is either 1st or second in each category, and I really believe that Jones and Okafor will end up at MSU.


Looking at the secondary/ "play-in" guys Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, and Kevon Looney. I think that MSU will end up with 1-2 of these guys. I strongly believe that we will end up with Tyler Ulis, and that he will red-shirt his freshman season, while Jones and Trice hold down the fort. The stage will be perfectly set for Ulis to take over the point for the next four glorious years, and I think that this is something that Izzo will be able to sell.

I am guessing that (unless there is attrition) we will end up with one of either Looney or Booker (or Reid Travis, or Jordan Barnett, or D'Angelo Russel). My great hope is that the guy we get is Looney--I see a ton of Raymar Morgan in his game (even if he is less physically gifted and more skilled than Raymar) this is a kid that works hard, defends well, is extremely long, rebounds terrifically (especially on the offensive end), and knows how to score inside. His recruitment appears to be moving slowly, but I think it is clear that MSU is in the thick of things. I doubt very much that he ends up at Duke as Amile Jefferson will be the firmly entrenched PF his junior year, and may even be joined by Trey Lyles. Wisconsin is an option, but I am guessing that Bo's style scares Looney off. The real question for me is Marquette, and maybe Florida. Marquette has a history with long MSU forward recruits--specifically Jamil Wilson (who would've been nice to have last season...)--and Florida will have a lot of space on its roster for Looney to step into. As long as MSU keeps pressing home with him I think we can move into the driver's seat, but it will be interesting to see how his recruitment plays out, and what postion he projects as at the collegiate level. I see him as a devilishly long wing player, who can also play PF, and for that very reason he would not conflict with Cliff Alexander (assuming Branden Dawson leaves after this year, which might happen). If it is not Looney then Booker would also be a terrific addition to the team. His recruitment seems to have both UM and MSU squarely involved, with potential suitors UNC, Duke, Florida, Missouri, and UK all in the picture as well. Duke already has a high-level SG, UK is targeting Vaughn, UNC has a number of wings already committed, and Florida, Missouri, and UNC are all also closely recruiting D'Angelo Russell now going to have to add in additional wing targets now that D'Angelo Russell is off the board (as will MSU). I think when the music stops that UM will end up with Booker, but I would not be shocked if he came to MSU given that the only wings on the roster will be Valentine, Ellis, and Byrd.

In summation I think that Izzo will somehow pull off the master-wonder: Cliff Alexander, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Tyler Ulis (RS), and Kevon Looney.

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Join The Only Colors

You must be a member of The Only Colors to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Only Colors. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker