Michigan State hoops targets land high in ESPN rankings, and nationally televised prep games to watch

On the banks of the Red Cedar, recruiting never stops. We’re here every step of the way to keep you informed with our  daily notebook. Recruiting questions? Comment below or direct them to  lucas.srodulski@ajc.com and we’ll do our best to get them answered.

2019 MSU targets jump in recruiting rankings

On Wednesday, we told you about ESPN’s updated 2018 basketball recruiting rankings. All four Michigan State commits received 4-star ratings, and three ranked in the top 100. Both numbers are higher than the 247Sports composite, which combines the ratings and rankings of multiple media recruiting services.

A day later, ESPN unveiled its traditional ranking of the top 60 incoming junior players, which would be the 2019 class. Michigan State has offered four players in the class, and all appeared on the list.

South Garland (Texas) guard Tyrese Maxey came in at No. 17, earning the 5-star rating he doesn’t have in the 247Sports composite. Maxey has been trending toward SMU since reports came out Wednesday that the Mustangs have hired his father to their staff.

Fort Wayne (Ind.) North Side wing Keion Brooks comes in four spots lower on ESPN (No. 21) than in the composite (No. 17), but ESPN considers him a 5-star prospect. And the two others hail from Michigan. Both New Haven wing Romeo Weems and Detroit Old Redford combo guard Mark “Rocket” Watts garnered 4-star ratings on ESPN’s list and ranked 37th and 44th, respectively. That’s a jump of more than 10 spots for both players compared to the composite.

When evaluating the importance of ratings and rankings, consider this. Players may have a higher star rating but lower ranking in one service versus another. That’s because some services, namely ESPN, rate more players 5-star prospects than others. It’s more important to look at rankings, which compare players rather than come to a subjective conclusion about one player’s talent in a vacuum.

That said, Michigan State finds itself in the midst of an important pair of in-state recruiting cycles. The 2018 and 2019 classes in Michigan, as it stands now, each have three top-100 players in the composite rankings. If it stands through enrollment for each class, it will be the first time since the 2010 and 2011 that this has happened in consecutive years.

Michigan State only landed one of the aforementioned six players in the 2010 and 2011 classes. Some were recruiting misses, and some weren’t heavily recruited by the Spartans.

The Spartans have already dominated in-state recruiting in 2018 by landing four commitments, two from top-100 players: Marcus Bingham Jr. (No. 65) and Gabe Brown (No. 99). They’ll look to find similar success in 2019 with Watts and Weems.

Prep football to watch this weekend

We have plenty to talk about in basketball recruiting. Alas, neither high school nor college seasons start for several more months. Thankfully there’s plenty of football to watch.

The upcoming weekend marks the last one you’ll have to make it through before college football begins. So to tide yourself over, here are a few games you can check out.

St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Time: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 25
Channel: ESPNU

Both teams are national powerhouses, but Michigan State’s focus will be on Aquinas, as it has offered a handful of Raiders players. Among them are these 2019 prospects: OLB Jahmar Brown, CB Jaden Davis, OL Vincent Murphy and OLB Anthony Solomon. This game could give a glimpse of the future at Michigan State.

DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Time: 9 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 25
Channel: ESPN

Here’s another cross-country battle between two big-time powers. This one gives Michigan State fans a chance to see one of their top Class of 2018 targets, Bishop Gorman 3-star guard Jacob Isaia, blocking for UCLA quarterback commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson. He’ll likely go up against 4-star Maryland defensive tackle commit Austin Fontaine, who also holds a Spartans offer.

IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) vs. Chandler (Ariz.)
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 26
Channel: ESPNU

This one doesn’t have any top Michigan State targets, but the Spartans have traditionally gone after players from both areas and both schools. Early enrollee tight end Jack Camper was produced by IMG Academy. So give it a watch and you just see an impressive young guy who picks up a Michigan State offer down the road.

Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne vs. Pine-Richland (Gibsonia, Pa.)
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Aug. 27
Channel: ESPN

Maybe you’ll want to watch for explosive Wayne receiver L’Christian Blue Smith, whom the Spartans recruited hard for a while. But pay attention to the Pine-Richland offense. In front of Notre Dame quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec, you’ll see 3-star offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic, for whom Michigan State will battle his hometown team, Pittsburgh, and former Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.

The post Michigan State hoops targets land high in ESPN rankings, and nationally televised prep games to watch appeared first on Land of 10.

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