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MSU Basketball Recruiting Round-Up (Playoff Time)

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This edition of our recruiting round-up is focused on how the signees, verbal commits, and recruiting targets are fairing in the high school playoffs.  As Coach Izzo mentioned on signing day, there's a benefit to bringing players to Michigan State who have already experienced success and learned how to win.  Predictably, many of our recruits have advanced into the playoffs and quite a few still have games ahead.

One who does not is Travis Trice.  Travis wrapped an outstanding senior season by playing in a double overtime war, scoring 38 but coming up short in a 80-76 loss to Winton Woods.  The local Dayton Daily News pretty much has the entire saga of the end of his season.  There's the game story, some extended quotes and reflections, and lastly video about the controversy over whether Trice was fouled late in the game. 

The people over at Michigan Prep Stars brought some video highlights {above} of TT to our attention that feature him in action against Lebanon.  It's short but you'll see two things you have to like - Trice using his quick, reliable shot to knock down threes and some nice passing and playmaking.

Add Branden Dawson to the list of MSU signees whose season is over.  Dawson contributed 14 fourth quarter points but it wasn't enough to help Lew Wallace come from behind and catch Western.  After the game, Dawson was already thinking about East Lansing and said:

"I'm gonna go up there and work hard," Dawson said. "If I do that, Coach (Tom) Izzo will guarantee me a starting spot."

With the lack of returning wing players next season, starting could be a real possibility for BD.  The Northwest Times Youtube channel caught up with him more after the game and you can check out an interview with Dawson and his coach Renaldo Thomas on their site.

Dwaun Anderson is done as well.  He matched up against Sean Sheldon (D1 2012 post player) and Traverse City St. Francis coming out on the losing end of a 72-69 Class C district semi-final.  Channel 9 and 10 news has raw and exciting local video that shows Anderson in #22 and is complete with one of the athletic dunks he's known for.

Keeping the faith for 2011 players is Brandan Kearney.  Detroit Southeastern is still alive in the MSHAA playoffs and getting help not just from Kearney but a continually improving Percy Gibson (Dayton signee).  They beat Jalen Reynolds and Livonia Stevenson to advance.  Their next match-up is tomorrow night against Detroit Cody. With continued skepticism (both fair and unfair) about Kearney's game, I'd love to see him advance to the bright lights of the Breslin and show people his multiple skills.

More positive Spartan news (if you're not Draymond Green, I suppose) was the huge revenge upset of Matt Costello's Bay City Western squad over Saginaw High.  In the previous match-up, an apparently star-struck BCW team got doubled-up and lost 60-28.  In the playoff rematch, they instead pulled out a 54-47 win over The High.  The mlive article on the game has Costello quotes about the win and BCW will play Clarkston tomorrow night.

Denzel Valentine is also in the column of alive and still balling as Lansing Sexton attempts to improve upon last year's runner-up run.  They beat Williamston easily and should be the favorite in the next match-up against 9-13 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.

After being eliminated, the word is that Kenny Kaminski's Achilles injury is not serious and, according to SpartanMag ($), he should be full strength in a few weeks.

Garry Harris had a busy week.  While in the neighborhood, Tom Izzo made out to watch him play on the day of the Penn State game, which should reveal exactly how serious this recruitment is.  Coach Izzo saw a win and big game from Harris to advance Hamilton Southeastern.  However, Harris' team fell victim to a serious output from high D1 prospect D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and and were eliminated from the Class 4A tournament.  This may be a prime time to watch Harris' recruitment.  Focus often intensifies once the basketball season is over and a few things may begin to shakeout.  Harris and camp have suggested that this summer will be an important time towards a fall decision and it's getting warmer where I sit.   I'll say this, if it's over and done to Indiana (or Louisville), no one told Izzo.

It's clear that Charles "Cha Cha" Tucker reads The Only Colors and saw me refer to him as the consensus No. 3 or 4 point guard in the 2013 Michigan class.  He was the star of the district championship game for Lansing Eastern hitting a 30-foot buzzer beater to top Okemos by two.  The coaches and team expressed their confidence in him by putting the ball in his hands and designing a play with him in mind.  So, alright, let's hold the door open for Cha Cha in G&W and see what he can do!  Lansing Eastern and Mr. Tucker Jr. will continue to try to turn heads as they continue in the playoffs in a re-match from last season against powerhouse Kalamazoo Central. 

National Top 10 2013 PF Jabari Parker continues to get strong attention from Duke and they have to be considered a major player at this early stage in his recruitment.  Parker has also been a star of the playoffs and this article talks about his major playmaking and defense efforts in a win against Wayne Blackshear (Louisville signee) and Morgan Park.

Another player to feature this week is Dowagiac's Dontel Highsmith.  He was instrumental in putting away Edwardsburg last week going on a one-man 9-2 run to close the game.  He's been playing some of his best basketball and getting more victories since then to set up tomorrow night's game against Sturgis.

One last note on a player I haven't mentioned much in my articles but probably should.  It came out that Leo Edwards, a 6'9" F/C, has transferred out of Detroit Cass Tech to play at Romulus.  That's an interesting move.  One thing, big men almost always develop more slowly and Edwards is considered, right now, one of the top post players in the state of Michigan for 2013.  Romulus also features Elbert "EC" Matthews who has a reputation as a wing player to watch in the same class.  It'll be interesting to see if that combination can make some noise as their games mature.