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Michigan State Continues to Watch Chicago Guard Sterling Brown

Sterling Brown #1 (via bookiester)

Talking about Sterling Brown and adding him to the 2013 Hotlist is probably overdue. As Jim Comparoni reminded everyone last week, Michigan State coaches have been keeping an eye on this younger brother of former Spartan guard Shannon Brown. It’s not hard for Coach Izzo and staff to see a lot of Brown as he plays alongside prime targets Jahlil Okafor and Jabari Parker for the Mac Irvin Fire 17u squad. It’s this shared attention that brought Travis Trice to MSU and is also part of why Jabari Parker is publicly committed to keeping his recruitment open through the summer. Parker has expressed interest in doing is part for his high school and AAU teammates by increasing their exposure to numerous coaches.

This sort of sustained attention is great for late risers like Brown. Though considered a solid prospect for a long time, the number of offers to Brown and the caliber of interested programs have increased as he approaches his senior year. Big Ten invitations from Nebraska, Northwestern, and Illinois (under Bruce Weber) have already come in and Minnesota is the latest team to offer. In addition to Michigan State, Xavier, Providence, Marquette, and others are said to be watching him. That list doesn’t include all the other coaches who might catch Brown or pass a positive word around after reviewing other prospects during AAU.

More after the jump...

Perhaps the start of Brown’s rise was the end of his junior season when he led Proviso East to the state championship game against Jabari Parker’s Simeon team. Despite falling short in the final contest, Brown demonstrated that he belonged with the best and was judged by many to have outplayed his Simeon rival. I think one of the biggest compliments to his game is that Roy and Harv Schmidt, who know scouting Illinois hoops about as well as anyone, now rank Brown as the No. 3 player in the state for 2013, behind only Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn. They include some more commentary on him in this article from April. The word on Brown is that he’s a solid overall player. He defends very well at the high school level, can rebound a little, and make plays for others. He may not be as athletic as Shannon (tall order) but he is a plus-athlete. Sterling is not yet a marksman with room to grow as an outside shooter.

Even though Brown has more to prove to gain an offer from Michigan State, I think there’s a chance he could navigate himself into the right place at the right time. If you recall the 2014 Hotlist (one more shameless plug!), the wing recruiting targets are limited. Drake Harris is the big name but there appears to be about a 50/50 chance that he ultimately decides to play football for Brady Hoke. The same narrow focus is true for ’13. Right now, the most attention is being given to Jabari Parker (probably a college PF) and James Young, a true wing. With Young’s odds of going Green looking smaller with each look from Kentuck, Tom Izzo could find himself in the rare position of being behind on his main wing recruits for both 2013 and 2014. If Coach Izzo doesn’t like the looks of those odds, he may be in the market for a single guard to provide depth after the wing-heavy preceding classes. If he continues on this pace of attention-grabbing and development, Sterling Brown could be that guy. He’s called MSU his "dream school" and has taken it constructively as a challenge to get more attention from Coach Izzo.

My bet is still against Brown joining his brother as part of the Spartan family but there’s enough attention and swinging dominoes that it’s worth noting as a possibility. Things will only get clearer this summer as coaches go out later for further evaluations. Rising juniors will start thinking seriously about early decisions and seniors will prepare for their official visits. Sterling Brown could benefit from things bouncing his way.