Ah, the promise of spring! We always talk about how things will pick up once the high school season closes and players hit the road in other events. The excitement began fast when Jamal Murray descended from outer space (or Canada) to go Hulkbuster on the United States at the Nike Hoop Summit’s World vs. USA game. His effort was one that blew up twitter. Eric Bossi of Rivals called him a "monster" and other observers placed the game up there as one of the most impressive in the contest’s history. He scored 30 efficient points and grabbed 5 assists seeking to establish himself as a true combo guard who can run the point or play off at 6’4".
This huge game immediately changed the already substantial buzz in Murray’s recruiting. Talk began of Duke interest and pushing Murray to reclassify to 2015 to be an instant answer for the possibility of losing Tyus Jones. Kentucky, who had been intrigued and keeping an eye on him, was now a real player. It’s been speculated that Michigan State, Oregon, and Michigan were at the top of the pack, but this performance could change that narrative. Murray’s public statements are still ambivalent about reclassifying from 2016 to 2015, but he has plenty of time to make that decision. He and his family could delay things almost until the start of school in the fall.
Tom Izzo was busy watching one of his primary targets, Alabama’s Josh Langford. Langford put in a strong showing at the Adidas Gauntlet showcase. Josh Gershon of Scout called him a "versatile wing who can slash, hit jumpers or create for others w/vision."
Courtside films has video of Langford from this weekend so you can get an idea of what Coach Izzo was seeing.
The Adidas Gauntlet also allowed Michigan State to further evaluate Mitten State big man Austin Davis. Though this might not be entirely fair to Davis’ skills, he is that classic "will they or won’t they offer" big man prospect in the tradition of Alex Gauna or Jalen Reynolds. According to Jerry Meyer, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Notre Dame all joined the Spartans in checking him out. For one, Meyer loved Davis referring to his "long arms & old school post game." As an uncommitted and perhaps under-recruited 2016 player, Davis is someone whose ceiling both in terms of ability and landing spot is TBD.
Another key MSU target who started spring ball off big was Miles Bridges, the 2016 prep school forward formerly out of Flint. Corey Alberston of PrepHoopsOH wondered if you could see some Justise Winslow in Bridges’ play, a high and timely compliment.
Bridges is playing with 2016 Detroit PG Cassius Winston so If you want to see Tom Izzo this spring and summer, your best bet is to know where The Family AAU squad will be playing. With two of his 2016 targets on the same traveling team, Tom Izzo is going to follow them like a Grateful Dead fan.
If you questioned whether the addition of Caleb Swanigan or the possibility of Johnathan Williams III would slow MSU’s recruitment of Ohio F/C Nick Ward, the answer is a "No." They were already back out to see him last week as Ward joined All Ohio Red on the Nike EBYL. Ward recently added a Georgia offer to invitations from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, many others, and of course, Michigan State.
As expected, the early buzz and focus out of Michigan State recruiting is about building that 2016 class and filling a likely three spots. Ward, Winston, and Bridges would be a homerun for Michigan State, and Coach Izzo and staff are busy again trying to make that happen.