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Welcome Aboard - Nick Ward

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2016 big man Nick Ward verbally committed to the Michigan State Spartans and becomes the first commit for MSU's 2016 class

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Less than three weeks after Michigan State picked up a commitment from Indiana big man Caleb Swanigan, they received another commitment from 4 star Ohio big man Nick Ward. Ward is currently ranked #47 by ESPN, #68 by 247Sports, #69 by Rivals, and #72 by Scout. MSU's main competition was previously Ohio State but they currently have two bigs committed for 2016 and recently brought in 2015 big man Daniel Giddens. At 6'9" 235, Ward brings a wide body who can create space and block shots as he currently leading the Nike EYBL in rebounding as well as blocking 3 shots per game. Right now he isn't particularly explosive but both the offensive rebounds numbers (ability to create space) and block numbers (good timing) seem to be very positive aspects moving forward. Rexrode compared his game to Zach Randolph and I would say a much less polished Z-Bo is a fair comparison in terms of style of play. Based on his highlights and EYBL stats, he does not shoot many jump shots and is instead an almost exclusively back-to-the-basket player.

Nick Ward Nike EYBL Stats
Player PTS FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% OR TR A TO BLK STL PF
Nick Ward 16.8 46 86 53.5% 0 2 0% 42 79 53.2 4.0 11.1 0.4 2.8 3.0 0.6 2.4

Nick Ward plays for Gahanna Lincoln High School and is a former high school teammate of current Spartan Javon Bess. Per Paul Konyndyk, Ward's friendship with Bess was a factor in the decision along with the fact that MSU was his first big offer. He also plans to try and brings some friends with him:

With Ward in place, Izzo and his coaching staff can focus on who seem to be the two main 2016 targets in Cassius Winston and Miles Bridges. With Matt Costello set to graduate in spring 2016, Ward will join a frontcourt of Gavin Schilling, Marvin Clark, Deyonta Davis, and Caleb Swanigan. Although the losses of Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, and Matt Costello will hurt, (assuming no early entries) the 2016-2017 team should be set to contend again if the 2016 class can pan out favorably.

Updated Roster

Nick Ward Highlights