Let’s start off with this introduction: This is Tom Izzo’s most talented and deep team that he has ever had. We are not talking about leadership, athletism, or superior point guard play here. We are stating that #TheClass (We were the ones who introduced it to MSU Nation) coming back along with a more healthy, experienced, and determined group is a recipe for a national title.
During football game days, the basketball program host recruits, alums, and has the current team members participate in some way shape or form in open gym play. This past Saturday with Tom Izzo being in Washington to honor his mentor and to show his respect was not present. Kenny Goins (burnt finger cooking (very minor), Ben Carter (Almost 100% clear but not just yet), and Nick Ward (on a two-week break (nothing big, so please don’t speculate) did not participate. Everyone else, for the most part, did play in some way shape or form. Foster Loyer and Thomas Kithier were present. We came away impressed with Thomas’s quick release and three-point accuracy. Loyer had a slow start but when he played Bridge’s team he really showed us that he belongs. He ended up hitting a three-pointer to win the game with Miles guarding him. As we tweeted out a little while ago, two prominent midwest AAU coaches both stated that this 2018 class is the Izzo recruiting class that Tom loves to coach. They both said without doubt that when they are juniors and if no one goes pro early, that this class will bring Izzo his third national championship (They both believe that MSU will win it all this year).
We have to talk about how much of a savage (a compliment to those reading over the age of 30) Miles Bridges is. He played open gym with a sleeveless hoodie on with the actual hoodie being partially on. Now, this is not the first or last time Bridges has done this but he is such a great player that is so well respected that he does what he does and no one blinking an eye. He also is the most vocal player on the floor and he was somewhat mentoring/recruiting the highly regarded recruit who was visiting while playing during open gym.
Jaren Jackon Jr. is by far the second best player on the team. We will debate anyone on that fact. He is just so talented and versatile that he is very much Chris Bosh like in his prime. He and Miles will go pro after this season. They are just very talented and on another level. More to come on that in our next in-depth article. Joshua Langford is a very low-key efficient player who is a key part of MSU’s title run. He just plays smart and can score and play defense.
Leave the kid alone
Back to Thomas Kithier. Some in Macomb County and those high school coaches who feel that him transferring to Clarkston from Dakota is not right. They say that he should be loyal and stay with his Dakota teammates, etc. We disagree and we do not fault him for transferring. He is now at a school that is a public high school in Michigan. He could have easily transferred to a private out of state prep school like other top basketball players have done and will continue to do but he chose to stay in state. We will not disclose how he is immediately eligible to play at Clarkson, all we will say that is was a very creative way of doing it. Thomas and Foster playing together as they did for AAU will be good for their futures.
Izzo being Izzo
Coach Izzo being stressed out and being very vocal in the hallways of the Breslin center, nah……. Well, it is true but Izzo knows that this is by far his best chance to get his second national championship. He knows that it is national championship or bust and that he will have very few excuses if they fail to win it all. However, we all trust Izzo and we all understand that he needs to vent a little here and there before official practices start.
More to come
In closing, all of you should be very excited for this upcoming season. The biggest mystery is who will start. One person at the Breslin swore up and down that Matt McQuaid will start at the beginning of the season. Another said that Tum Tum will start over Cassius and both of those people are liars or don’t know how Izzo operates. In all seriousness, if I were you I would start looking for hotel and flights for San Antonio in April. The eye test shows that this is an extremely talented team that is very deep. It may not have a superstar point guard put you don’t need one to win a national championship in 2018.
*All of the players live on campus in a brand new building on campus located near the Breslin Center.
*Xavier Tillman should not redshirt because he is the real deal.
*Below is an updated roster and 2018 commitment list.
|Aaron Henry||F||Indianapolis, IN||6’6″||205||4||9/11/17|
|Marcus Bingham||F||Grand Rapids, MI||6’9″||200||4||6/30/17|
|Gabe Brown||F||Ypsilanti, MI||6’7″||180||4||6/20/17|
|Foster Loyer||G||Clarkston, MI||5’10″||155||4||11/22/16|
|Thomas Kithier||F||Macomb, MI||6’8″||210||4||8/4/16|
|0||Ahrens, Kyle||6-6||215||G/F||JR||Versailles, Ohio/Versailles|
|1||Langford, Joshua||6-5||210||G||SO||Huntsville, Ala./Madison Academy|
|2||Jackson Jr., Jaren||6-11||235||F||FR||Indianapolis, Ind./La Lumiere|
|5||Winston, Cassius||6-0||185||G||SO||Detroit, Mich./Univ. of Detroit Jesuit|
|10||Hoiberg, Jack||5-10||175||G||FR||Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale Central|
|11||Nairn Jr., Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’||5-10||175||G||SR||Nassau Bahamas/Sunrise Christian Academy|
|13||Carter, Ben||6-9||230||F||GS||Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman (UNLV/Oregon)|
|14||Washington, Brock||6-3||185||G||FR||Southfield, Mich./Southfield Christian|
|20||McQuaid, Matt||6-4||200||G||JR||Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville|
|22||Bridges, Miles||6-7||225||G/F||SO||Flint, Mich./Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.V.)|
|23||Tillman, Xavier||6-8||260||F||FR||Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian|
|25||Goins, Kenny||6-7||230||F||RS JR||Troy, Mich./Warren Mott|
|34||Schilling, Gavin||6-9||240||F||GS||Chicago, Ill./Findlay Prep|
|40||Burke, Braden||6-11||232||F||SO||Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore (Robert Morris)|
|41||George, Conner||6-3||200||G||RS SO||Okemos, Mich./Okemos|
|44||Ward, Nick||6-8||245||F||SO||Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln|