ESPN and CBSSports High on the Spartans’ Future

Last Friday, Michigan State landed coveted 4-star point guard Cassius Winston. His signing catapulted MSU’s 2016 recruiting class straight to the top of the rankings, according to 247Sports. Now it’s time to get more familiar with the University of Detroit Jesuit product.

ESPN’s Reggie Rankin broke down Winston’s game and gave a scout’s view of how he’ll fit into the Tom Izzo system (Insider required to read full article). Rankin said “Winston will provide Izzo with a point guard who can push the ball on the break and can settle things down and execute the halfcourt offense, in addition to being ready to call his own number to score and create when the play breaks down, or at end-of-clock and end-of-game situations.”

Winston will provide the Spartans with a completely different look at point guard. While sophomore Tum Tum Nairn is clearly a pass-first guard, Winston looks to score more. “Winston’s presence will give the offense two primary ball handlers, and two guards who can apply pressure and create turnovers, leading to fast-break opportunities,” said Rankin in the article.

Rankin compared Winston’s game to that of NBA guards Shane Larkin of the Brooklyn Nets and Aaron Brooks of the Chicago Bulls, who both are known more for their scoring. “Izzo has once again done a great job of filling his roster needs with quality young prospects who fit his style of play, and are loaded with talent and potential.”

This glowing review of Winston and MSU’s recruiting class is the latest in a string of positive reports on the future of Spartan basketball. CBSSports’ Gary Parrish ranked Izzo’s squad as the No. 9 ranked school that’s most likely to have success over the next five years. His ranking was based on coaching stability, young players already in the program and the strength of the recruiting classes. He said of Coach Izzo: “The next time Tom Izzo has a bad team will be the first time in roughly 20 years. He’s just about as reliable as they come.”


BREAKING: 4-Star Point Guard Cassius Winston Commits to MSU

Cassius Winston, a four-star point guard from University of Detroit Jesuit, just committed to Michigan State for the 2016 season. He is the third recruit from the class of 2016, joining four-star power forward Nick Ward and five-star combo guard Josh Langford.

Winston narrowed his list to MSU, Pittsburgh and Stanford, and included the University of Michigan for most of the recruiting process.

Winston is rated as the No. 5 point guard in the nation and the second-best player in Michigan, according to 247Sports. Although slightly undersized at just a shade over six-foot, Winston is an aggressive scorer and a leader on the court. He should fit the Izzo mold quite nicely. With his signing, MSU could have the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

But wait, there’s more!

MSU now has two more possible recruits left, Miles Bridges and Josh Jackson, who are both five-star players. Bridges will announce Oct. 3 and is deciding mainly between the Spartans and Kentucky. Jackson, the No. 1 player in the country, is being pursued by Arizona, Kansas and Maryland, among others.


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.

Highlight video:

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