Recent efforts on the recruiting trail have Tom Izzo in position to make yet another big splash with his next class.
OK, yes, I get it. Bold statement. Anyone who has remotely been following Michigan State basketball of late has probably heard it. The recently signed recruiting class for 2023 has the potential to be Tom Izzo’s best class ever.
Before ever stepping foot on the court at the Breslin Center, this class has been put in rarified air along with the likes of the class of 2016 and the earlier classes which started the Flintstones. Some recruiting analysts even list 2023 as Izzo’s best class top to bottom already before any of the kids step on campus officially.
Some questions had surfaced whether or not he could land a top tier class in this new college basketball world full of NIL deals and transfer portal uncertainties. Izzo has silenced the doubters and now reignited the program with the 2023 class and the hype in East Lansing hasn’t been this high in a long time.
But could the 2024 recruits have a chance to be just as good or even better? Could Tom do the unthinkable and actually land back-to-back top-three classes?
Let’s take a look at what a potential 2024 “home run” class could look like.
Quick disclaimer: For the 2024 class to be as highly touted as any of the previously mentioned ones, there would probably need to be 3-4 signees in the class.
With the current scholarship charts, that is possible but not guaranteed. The NCAA allows 13 scholarship players per roster. The current 2022 roster has 10 with three seniors expected to move on. That would leave seven scholarship players moving into next year when Xavier Booker, Jeremy Fears, Gehrig Normand, and Coen Carr come in, totaling 11 scholarships for 2023.
For that team, currently Mady Sissoko and AJ Hoggard would be the only senior players set to graduate. They will each have an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, we should probably expect Booker’s time in East Lansing to be short-lived as he is poised to be in the NBA sooner than later.
So for a class of four signees potentially to come in 2024, we would need 2-of-3 listed here to move on from MSU barring any unforeseen injuries or transfers.
Like any good recruiting class, let’s start with its big-name targets.
Izzo is certainly not afraid to go big game hunting for recruits. Thus far, it looks like the 2024 class is going to be no different. He has already extended offers to two five-star recruits, the highest rated being center Flory Bidunga. He is ranked the No. 1 center and No. 4 overall player in the nation (per 247Sports Composite Rankings). Next would be small forward Bryson Tucker who is ranked the No. 2 small forward and No. 7 player overall. He also has offered the No. 8 shooting guard (36th overall player) in four-star Kur Teng.
Next, Izzo offered the No. 2 center (27th overall), James Brown from Chicago. The four-star center has a total of 27 offers so far including Duke, North Carolina, MSU, UCLA, and Michigan, to name just a few. Either Bidunga or Brown would be ideal center replacements should Booker follow in the path of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Max Christie and go right to the NBA.
Probably the most well-known name on the offer sheet for Spartan fans would be four-star point guard Jase Richardson, son of MSU alum and former NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Jason Richardson. Jase is listed as the No. 5 point guard (35th ranked player overall) in the 247Sports composite. He has already officially visited campus on an this year and Izzo has continued to pursue his talents.
To round out the major offer list, MSU offered four-star power forward Aiden Sherrell. The No. 6 power forward (No. 41 overall) has been rated as a high four-star and is starting to get more attention nationally with other offers from Michigan, Auburn, Alabama, and Texas Tech, among others.
In total, Izzo has offered 11 players in the 2024 cycle so far. Ten of the 11 offers are graded at four-star recruits or higher in the 247Sports composite rankings and the six listed above are top 41 overall players nationally. Most of them could even see some rankings climb higher as they are updated.
For argument’s sake, lets construct a hypothetical class.
We are still a ways away from signing day of course and this won’t likely be the class when it’s all said and done. I feel fairly comfortable about saying Richardson has a good shot of ending up here so I will put him in for my first hypothetical. Knowing how depth down low has been an issue of past year, I would want to try to lock in a couple of bigger bodies down low. Landing Tom’s pick of either Bidunga or Brown to go with Sherrell would solidify the post and make the potential loss of Booker a little easier to overcome. Add in a wing with his pick of Teng or some of the other guards/small forwards and that would give you arguably the most complete class Izzo has ever assembled and rival the current one.
Obviously there is a long way to go and nothing is for certain.
For every Jaren Jackson or Max Christie-caliber player we have landed, there have been many stories like Josh Jackson or Emoni Bates to show how crazy recruiting can get.
This class could be no different.
Only time will tell, but the way things are shaping up, Tom Izzo has certainly revitalized the program and is more poised than ever to make a run at that illusive second national championship.
Here’s to hoping one of these classes is the one to deliver it to him.