It was a big day for the Michigan State basketball program, as an extremely talented group of three 2021 commits all signed their National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to officially become Spartans.
Michigan State’s 2021 class ranks sixth nationally, and second in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports’ Composite scores, and has a remarkable average rating between the three recruits of 0.9802 (out of a possible 1000).
Let’s take a closer look at the incoming class:
Max Christie, shooting guard
- High School: Rolling Meadows (Illinois)
- Rating: Five-star
- Height: 6-feet-6-inches tall
- Weight: 165 pounds
- Position rank: No. 1 shooting guard in 2021 class
- State rank: No. 1 prospect in Illinois in 2021 class
- Overall rank: No. 15 prospect nationally
- Other notable offers: Duke, Baylor, Virginia, Villanova, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin and many others
Quick thoughts: Christie has first-round draft pick NBA-potential, and could possibly be a one-and-done or two-and-done at Michigan State, depending on how he develops. He is a versatile player who has good length, and his shooting touch is one of the best aspects of his game, but he can also create off the dribble. Christie also shows plus athleticism, has a high basketball IQ and is a willing defender. In addition to his skills on the court, Christie seems to be a very mature young man as well. He needs to add weight and muscle to his frame, but will be an immediate contributor for the Spartans.
Tom Izzo’s thoughts on Christie: “At 6-foot-6, Max can play the point, he can play the two, he can play the three, he can be a passer and distributor, he can be a scorer, he can be a rebounder. I think his length and his range make him a very valuable player. He is a very good athlete who I think is going to get better and better as he gets more and more into it. He’s a great facilitator. He’s got to continue to grow defensively like a Gary Harris or a Denzel Valentine. He kind of reminds us of a combination of those two guys, only he’s bigger than both of them.”
Four-star point guard, Jaden Akins
- High School: Ypsi Prep, (Michigan), formerly Farmington High School (Michigan)
- Rating: Four-star
- Height: 6-feet-3-inches tall
- Weight: 160 pounds
- Position rank: No. 11 point guard in 2021 class
- State rank: No. 1 prospect in Michigan in 2021 class
- Overall rank: No. 62 prospect nationally
- Other notable offers: Florida, Louisville, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Missouri, DePaul, Xavier many more
Quick thoughts: Akins will play his final year in the high school ranks at Ypsi Prep with fellow Michigan State commit, Emoni Bates (2022 — as of now). Akins is considered an elite athlete with great quickness and good size for his position, who will attack the rim. He also has good basketball pedigree, as his father, Jerome, played college basketball at New Mexico State. Akins is more of a natural point guard, but could play two-guard if needed. That said, Akins seems to be more of a scorer than a facilitator right now — he also shoots the bell well — but he still has plus-passing skills and court vision. He should also see early playing time for the Spartans.
Tom Izzo’s thoughts on Akins: “He’s definitely the most athletic of the three. He’s got phenomenal athletic ability, he has the ability to shoot it from long range, but he can get into the paint any time he wants it. He is maybe the best dunker of the group, he’s had some incredible highlights. He has a very quick first step. I think he’s going to be a good offensive player and a good defensive player. He too was a bit unappreciated in our state, but as last spring went on and this fall, he’s risen up in a lot of people’s minds.”
Pierre Brooks II, shooting guard/small forward
- High School: Douglass Academy (Michigan)
- Rating: Four-star
- Height: 6-feet-5-inches tall
- Weight: 180 pounds
- Position rank: No. 13 shooting guard in 2021 class
- State rank: No. 3 prospect in Michigan in 2021 class
- Overall rank: No. 68 prospect nationally
- Other notable offers: Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Northwestern Kansas State, Missouri, Arizona State, Butler, DePaul, Xavier and others
Quick thoughts: Perhaps the most overlooked prospect of the class, Brooks could end of having the longest and most successful career as a Spartan. He was the first to commit to the class, and had a hand in helping draw the others in. He has good size at 6-foot-5, 180 pounds and he can play either spot on the wing as a shooting guard or small forward. Brooks is a good shooter with range, and also a confident finisher at the rim. He won’t back down defensively, either, and can guard multiple spots. Brooks appears to be a natural fit for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State program.
Tom Izzo’s thoughts on Brooks: “Everybody is your favorite, but Pierre is one of my favorites because he was the first to commit. He started the ball rolling. The other thing I really enjoy about Pierre is his dad’s a coach. Whenever you get a coach’s son, you get a guy who understands the game. At 6-foot-5, he’s built like a linebacker. He has toughness. Maybe like all three of them, this kid has probably worked as hard as anyone I’ve known. He’s probably come the farthest. Everyone said he can’t do this or can’t do that and pretty soon, he’s playing better and better. I think Pierre Brooks has a chance to have a phenomenal career here because of the things we value: toughness, the ability to shoot the ball from long, long range, play multiple positions.”
Here are Tom Izzo’s full comments from his press conference today on the 2021 recruiting class: