Tom Izzo finally got the point guard he was looking for in the 2014 class when Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn of Bel Aire (KS) announced this morning that he was committing to Michigan State. Nairn's announcement, which he made at his high school, Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita (KS), finally ended a dramatic series of twists and turns in the search for Keith Appling's replacement.
Lourawls Nairn (PG) 5'10", 175lb
Rivals: 4-star, #61 overall
Scout: 3-star, #23 PG
ESPN: 4-star, 83 grade, #16PG, #72 overall
247Sports: 4-star, 93 rating, #18PG, #78 overall
Nairn (who goes by "Tum Tum," after the undersized but tough kid from the 3 Ninjas movie) is primarily known for his speed. Brian Snow of Scout ($) has called him the fastest point guard in the 2014 class and said: "There might not be a faster player with the basketball in all of high school than Nairn". Here is some visual evidence:
Nairn's other calling cards are toughness and leadership. It was widely reported that Tom Crean told him on a visit that he had the character to be the best leader in the Big Ten since Mateen Cleaves. And as the photo accompanying this article makes clear, he is solidly built and looks to have a body ready for the physical style of Michigan State and the Big Ten. The knock on him has been his shot, but that is mainly because he's so focused on getting into the lane that he doesn't look for it very often. His high school coach, Kyle Lindsted said this about his shooting:
If hard work makes a shooter, he’s a shooter because he has definitely worked very, very hard. He just has a few things natural to him with his shot that we have had to take away, and any time you have to re-train your body it takes a lot of time and repetition. I think people will be surprised how well he shoots the ball this spring and summer
Nairn began to draw high-major interest as a sophomore and Michigan State was initially quite interested in him. But by this spring he reportedly had offers from Kansas, among others, and Izzo turned his attention to Tyler Ulis. When Ulis committed to Kentucky and Louisville de-commit Quentin Snider cancelled his MSU visit and committed Illinois, Izzo and his staff looked to renew their pursuit of Nairn. Although he had already narrowed his list to three finalists - Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Indiana - Nairn was interested enough to let MSU back in and he took an official visit the weekend of September 14. He took his last official visit to Indiana the following weekend before announcing his choice this morning.
With the earlier decommitment of wing Drake Harris, this makes Nairn the first member of Izzo's 2014 class. He will join Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Alvin Ellis in the backcourt and seems likely to see a lot of playing time early. The fact that Tom Izzo was able to secure a player of Nairn's caliber so late and after missing on Ulis and others should calm some of the fears about Izzo's ability to recruit top talent. And, with his blinding speed, tough defense and awesome name, Tum Tum Nairn seems destined to be a fan favorite as well as a great fit for Spartan basketball.
He talked with Scout about the decision, and had great things to say about Izzo.
"That's the crazy thing about it, I never felt like I didn't know him," Nairn told Scout.com. "As soon as we talked, it was like a match made in heaven. We are the exact same people. Everything he told me wasn't always about basketball."
"Even though it was late, it wasn't always basketball, basketball, basketball," he added. "The biggest thing he said to me was that he was going to make me a better person and that was big for me."
We'll close with some footage of the original Tum Tum: