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MSU Basketball Recruiting Round-up (6/18/15)

Coaches were given the NCAA green light to call players directly this week. That sparked lots of movements and revealed which players Michigan State is checking in on.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big week in college basketball recruiting. A new contact period has started where coaches can begin directly calling rising juniors. Always ready to make gestures of commitment to land a recruit, many coaches get on the phone at 12:00am on 6/15 to contact their most important prospects and build new relationships. In addition to other updates about visits and offers, we’ll take an inventory of some of the players Coach Izzo and staff reached out to.

MSU made the list of contacts for Malik Williams. Williams is a 2017 center out of Ft. Wayne, familiar territory for MSU. Scout considers him one of the Top 75 players in his class. After an early offer from Indiana, more schools will definitely get involved with this 6’11" big man.

Another newer name, Jaron Faulds, received contact from Michigan State. Faulds is a 6’10" post player for Holt and part of the still emerging 2017 in-state class. Faulds doesn’t have the national reputation of Williams, but he has plenty of time to continue to develop his game and maintain the attention of high majors. His extended contact list including Iowa, Cleveland State, Oakland, and Xavier is a good indicator of where he is right now. 

Clint Jackson reported that Coach Izzo himself spoke with point guard Blake Harris and that the Spartans are "showing genuine interest." The ACC (FSU, Wake, GTech, etc.) is already all over this 6’3" guard. His expert passing has placed him in the Top 100 of the 2017 class. That evaluation might continue to rise with attention from schools like Duke, UNC, and others. Though he currently plays in Virginia, Harris is originally from Chapel Hill so it might take a very special relationship to bring him to East Lansing.

In a desperate attempt to hold together The Beatles, the staff at MSU checked in with forward Billy Preston. Preston is ranked as a five-star on all the major services. Growing up in California, he played prep ball in Texas. I wouldn’t get too invested in this one. Just let it be.

Big time schools are coming after more established MSU targets. Now considered one of the consensus best scorers in his junior class, Gary Trent Jr. added an offer from Duke. In addition to the public favorites Ohio State, this brings another serious program all-in after Trent Jr.  How close the Spartans will remain in this one is something to keep an eye on. 

In addition to the recruiting pox that is Duke, Kentucky is out there as well. They will entertain Paul Scruggs this weekend. Though Kentucky has not offered Scruggs, Kansas, Indiana, and Illinois have. As Scruggs does more to demonstrate that he’s a 6’4" power guard with a point guard’s instincts, a Kentucky offer should arrive shortly. He and fellow Central Indiana 4-star Kris Wilkes are expected to it up to Michigan State together soon.

Kentucky received a visit from Xavier Tillman last week, which was followed by the usual "Ooohhhh, Kentucky!" hype. I try to avoid going recruitnik fanboy in these posts, but Tillman is a guy I seriously would love to see in Green & White. He’s a tough, blue-collar player who continues to work on developing high level skills. He’d be a great player to lock up for MSU and keep in state. Check out some recent video:

Saginaw’s Brian "Tugs" Bowen added an Indiana offer amongst others. MSU losing a Sagnasty player to Tom Crean and Indiana would disappoint me {that took a lot of filtering for tack and language}.

Josh Jackson, All-Everything junior, gave an interview to The Sporting News where he professed that he has every intention of playing college basketball (he said "definitely"), bucking the growing theory that he’s headed overseas for a year before declaring for the draft. In the rest of the article, he states that he hates the cold in Michigan and was happy to get away, yet says that won’t influence his college decision. This one is really a legit mystery, but I wouldn’t give him an MSU locker yet.

ESPN’s Paul Biancardi offered some insight into the plans of Jamal Murray and didn’t have much to say encouraging about MSU. Murray has visited Oregon and Kentucky as part of two officials and Biancardi believes it is a "two-and-a-half" team race with John Beilein’s Wolverines as the half if they can land an official. This pace really sounds like Murray is thinking 2015 to enroll in college, but that is still not yet final.

Last news is an article about Miles Bridges from the Louisville-based Courier-Journal. It speaks to the narrative most of us accept: this is probably a two-team race between Kentucky and Michigan State, especially after the coaching change at Iowa State. It’s clear why any major prospect would be intrigued by what UK has to offer. Bridges also talked about the push to play close to his mom back in Michigan. He told Kyle Tucker, "She likes Tom Izzo a lot, because we've been up to Michigan State more than any other school…It's a lot of pressure on me, because everybody from Flint's saying, 'You gotta go to Michigan State. You're from Flint.' But I'm just going to make the best decision for me." Where Bridges decides to head for college will be one of the big stories this fall.