Sun rise, sun set. Into every life a little rain must fall. Pick your cliché; whatever. Michigan State and Tom Izzo are moving on. Not only does it look like the Spartans are thick in the mix for Missouri transfer Johnathan Williams III, but the program recently extended new offers to two rising juniors. With 2015 almost done and the 2016's focus narrowing, the 2017 class is going to have a bigger and bigger place in Coach Izzo’s recruiting efforts.
Paul Scruggs is high four-star guard out of the Indianapolis area with Purdue, Indiana, Xavier, Illinois, and Kansas offers. His Southport High team also features 2016 MSU target Joey Brunk at center. At 6’3", Scruggs is a combo guard who (wait for it!) envisions himself as a point guard at the next level. Scruggs is a physical attacker already and listed around 200 lbs. He’s a different style competitor than a thin, lanky point guard. Think of him as more of a physical lead guard.
The other offer is to Nojel Eastern from Evanston, Illinois, another combo player.
Michigan State just offered 2017 SG/PG Nojel Eastern— Brian Snow (@BSnowScout) May 8, 2015
Like Scruggs, Eastern is one of the top players in the 2017 class, ranked #42 overall by 24/7 Sports. Just a few weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune reported that a nasty ankle injury suffered in April was unlikely to slow the recruitment of this player, and apparently they were correct. Coach Izzo extended the offer without being able to catch any more of his spring and summer game. In an intriguing development, the review of Eastern’s injury led to speculation that he may still be growing and could be on his way to forward height before he reaches college.
MSU now has a number of offers out to primary 2017 targets. They recently took the next step with guard Gary Trent, Jr., and they’ve long been pursuing Saginaw superstar Brian "Tugs" Bowen. Other key targets include Philadelphia true point Quade Green and prep forward P.J. Washington. Keep a watch on Grand Rapids forward Xavier Tillman as well. All reviews of Tillman scream "Izzo guy" – a little undersized, tough, high motor, produces against strong competition, good hands for post play, all the checkboxes. He has an MSU offer and could be the in-state bedrock of this class.
It’s a little far out to project exactly what the class "needs," and the staff is probably still trying to land players, period. However, you can see why wings and combo guards would be a priority. The only players penciled in on the wing for 2017 are "juniors" Kyle Ahrens and Matt McQuaid. It’s possible MSU could carry over a 2016 freshman at that spot, but MSU is after a potential one-and-done (Miles Bridges) leaving lots of room. No wonder Bowen, Scruggs, Trent Jr., and Eastern are already offer-worthy.
Still early so MSU probably has more 2017 offers coming as summer AAU ball continues.