Impact Sports: Men’s Basketball Summer Recruiting Update

Oh basketball, we miss you dearly.

The summer is torture for basketball fans longing for some meaningful game action. Recruiting helps stave off the withdrawals, but only for so long. To satisfy you desperate basketball fans hiding in your basement watching the Duke game over and over again, we give you an update on the tumultuous recruiting season MSU had this summer.

Nick Ward – C, 6-8, 230 lbs

The class of 2016 started off with a bang in April when Izzo landed four-star forward/center Nick Ward. He’s a bit undersized to play center, but his seven-foot wingspan certainly makes up for that. He’s powerful and tough to move out of the post, but his athleticism could use some improvement.

Luckily, he still has a year of high school to mature and hopefully work on his agility. He is currently the No. 42 player in the nation per ESPN and 247 Sports Composite Ranking. Ward spurned offers from over a dozen other schools, including Iowa, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Joshua Langford – G, 6-5, 200 lbs

Spartan fans should really be excited about Langford. This kid from Alabama can ball. According to 247Sports, he had over 20 offers, among them some of the blue bloods of college basketball in Kentucky, Duke and Kansas.

Langford is a slasher that finishes through contact. His potential is sky high right now. He just needs to expand his range a bit to be an absolute nightmare for opposing teams. ESPN has Langford at No. 13 and 247Sports ranks him just two below at No. 15. Depending on how he fares in his senior year, his stock could rise and MSU could have themselves the steal of the class.

So far, Ward and Langford are the only two hard commits. But we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Caleb Swanigan. It hurts just to even say his name now. Swanigan is one of the top big men in the class of 2015, so it’s safe to say everyone was shocked when he chose MSU on April 10.

Then things took a turn.

The letter of intent never came in. There were rumblings that he was having second thoughts. Then, on May 7, he backed out and re-opened his recruiting. Spartan fans were crushed, but they had experience with this with football recruit Malik McDowell. There was a glimmer of hope that Swanigan would see the light and come back to East Lansing. Well, that didn’t happen.

On May 19, Swanigan picked the Purdue Boilermakers. Ouch. It’s one thing to back out of a commitment, but he just twisted the knife by picking a conference rival. Not only that, but Purdue already has two seven-footers! MSU didn’t even have anyone over 6-8 last year! That’s just not fair.

Let’s just say the Spartans will be eager to welcome him to the Breslin Center.

On a lighter note, Michigan State is in hot pursuit of another five-star recruit, Saginaw’s Miles Bridges. The 6-foot-6 small forward recently narrowed his list to five schools, including MSU, Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana.

Bridges had this to say about the Spartans, per ESPN: “It’s only 45 minutes away from my home and they are one of the first schools to recruit me. A lot of guys from my area have gone there and been successful.”

Bridges would be a huge score for Izzo, who is losing Denzel ValentineBryn Forbes and Matt Costello after this season. The class of 2016 could end up being one of MSU’s best in years, but don’t get your hopes up too high. If the recruiting process hasn’t jaded you yet, just follow it for a few more months and it’ll happen.


New Faces in Spartyland: Basketball Recruiting Update

JAN 27

The 2014-15 campaign may be gloomy, depressing and confusing at times, but fear not fellow Spartans! Recruiting allows us to look ahead to greener pastures with a promising crop of incoming talent on the horizon.

Here’s a report on the top basketball recruits headed, or possibly headed, to East Lansing next year.

Deyonta Davis – Power Forward, 6-9, 210 lbs, 5-stars (Signed)

The earliest commit of the class of 2015 and the most promising, Deyonta Davis is simply a beast. He is ranked by ESPN as the No. 5 power forward in the country, the best player in the state and No. 16 in ESPN’s top-100. He is a bit on the tall, lanky side (think Chris Bosh) who has some range and good speed for a big man.

For a team desperate for an inside presence and losing Branden Dawson next year, Davis could see the starting lineup immediately. His versatility could allow the Spartans to stretch the floor more and run in transition without giving up size down low.

Highlight video:

Matt McQuaid – Shooting Guard, 6-4, 175 lbs, 4-stars (Signed)

Ranked No. 67 in ESPN’s top-100, McQuaid is a straight up shooter. Originally committed to SMU, McQuaid re-opened his options last May. MSU and Creighton emerged as the frontrunners, with the Spartans edging the Blue Jays in September. The Texas native seems out of place at Michigan State, but McQuaid has grandparents who live in Midland.

McQuaid could potentially embody the nickname “baby-faced assassin” as he is deadly from the perimeter and looks like he belongs in the eighth grade. His shooting is certainly ready for the next level, but his defense will have to improve before McQuaid gets a solid chunk of minutes.

Highlight video:

Kyle Ahrens – Shooting Guard, 6-5, 180 lbs, 4-stars (Signed)

Ahrens is a very similar player to McQuaid. He has excellent range but is also explosive off the dribble. Ahrens, who committed to MSU in June, suffered a broken leg in his junior year of high school. Now fully recovered, he will be able to spread the floor at the wing with his shooting and sneaky athleticism.

Highlight video:

Caleb Swanigan – Center, 6-8, 275 lbs, 5-stars (Undeclared)

Here is where things get interesting. Every year it seems MSU is in the running for an elite recruit, only to fall short to Kentucky or Duke or the “highest bidder”. This could be different.

Swanigan is an immovable force in the paint and would immediately bring the Spartans’ front line to the next level. He is the No. 8 ranked recruit in the nation according to ESPN and the No. 3 center. Although MSU is one of 13 schools in the running for the big man, according to ESPN’s “hot board” (Insider required), there is a good chance Swanigan could end up in the green and white.

When paired with Davis, Swanigan could lock down the paint while Davis becomes a stretch-four and spreads the floor. Swanigan could also platoon with Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling, allowing a constant rotation among the three to keep them fresh without losing size.

MSU would most certainly have the most formidable frontcourt in the Big Ten. Other notable teams in the hunt for Swanigan are Kentucky, Arizona, Duke, and Cal. Call me a foolish optimist, but I have a feeling MSU’s luck is about to change.

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Michigan State’s recruiting class is currently ranked No. 14 in the nation by ESPN.