Michigan State basketball

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Michigan State Basketball: Best player comparison for Coen Carr

Coen Carr is one of the best athletes to commit to Michigan State basketball in some time. Which former Spartan does he compare to?

Jason Richardson.
Shannon Brown.
Branden Dawson.
Adreian Payne.
Miles Bridges.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Coen Carr?

That could soon be the list of the super-athletes to come through Michigan State basketball under Tom Izzo if all goes as planned.

On Tuesday night, Carr committed to Michigan State over Tennessee, Indiana, and Vanderbilt.

Carr is an explosive athlete who has the ability to step out and hit the occasional three or mid-range jumper. He excels in the fast break and he’s an excellent alley-oop specialist. He’s not just a slasher, but he can get some air with no running start. Carr has plenty of highlights just grabbing rebounds and going right up over a couple of defenders for an impressive two-handed jam.

Standing 6-foot-7 and 200 pounds, Carr can get up with the best of them and might even be considered the best athlete in the class. He’s a violent dunker and will put plenty of defenders on posters while donning the green and white.

So which former Spartan does he compare to?

I’ve said this since the first highlight I saw of him: Branden Dawson.

It may seem a bit lazy since Dawson and Carr have slightly different strengths, but in terms of being athletes, both are very similar. Plus, Dawson was 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds coming in as a freshman and Carr is an inch taller and the same weight. Both have strong builds and while Dawson may have been a bit more compact, Carr is every bit as intimidating physically.

Dawson was a great fast-break player and could run the floor really well, defend in the post or on the wing, and rebound at a high level. Carr can also do those things exceptionally well.

Dawson wasn’t an effective shooter and never really grew into that mid-range role that Izzo wanted, but Carr has more potential in that category. He has shown the ability to step out and hit jumpers.

If Carr is anything like Dawson, Michigan State is going to flourish.

Now that Carr has committed, Michigan State has a Dawson-like player, Jaren Jackson Jr.-like player (Xavier Booker), Matt McQuaid-type player (Gehrig Normand), and a Cassius Winston-lite (Jeremy Fears).

Not a bad class, eh?

Michigan State basketball

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Will Michigan State basketball land 4-star SF Coen Carr?

Michigan State basketball is pushing for one final piece to its 2023 recruiting class in the form of Coen Carr.

Remember the “Tom Izzo is washed” crowd? It’s nearly gone extinct over the past couple of weeks.

Five-star big man Xavier Booker committed to Michigan State over Indiana, four-star athletic sharpshooting wing Gehrig Normand picked the Spartans just days after getting an offer, and now four-star freak athlete Coen Carr looks to be well on his way to joining the already-loaded 2023 class.

Right now, the class is almost perfectly balanced.

It has a point guard (Jeremy Fears), a shooting wing (Normand), and an elite scoring big (Booker). All it needs is another athletic wing. Come on down, Coen Carr.

On Saturday, just one day after Carr revealed his commitment date of Aug. 9, Michigan State began to get a flood of predictions. Recruiting experts and insiders on On3, Rivals, and 247Sports all pegged him to be a future Spartan. And that’s where I tend to agree.

The questions on everyone’s mind since Normand committed have been: Will Carr join the class? Will he commit shortly after getting a Michigan State basketball offer? Did Tom Izzo really seal the deal that quickly? Do the other three MSU commits have what it takes to convince him?

The answer to all of those questions will be yes, in my opinion.

Michigan State has the momentum here. Carr loved his visit, connected with Izzo, and he’s close with Michigan State’s three commits in the class. This seems like a no-brainer.

With Carr, Michigan State’s class would be top-three nationally and he’d fill that ‘super-athlete wing’ void that the Spartans need. Normand is a great athlete and he can shoot, but Carr has a different skill set. The two complement each other well on the wings. Carr could develop a solid jumper and be one of the scariest recruits in the class — he’s already arguably the best athlete in 2023.

All signs are pointing to Carr becoming the latest MSU commitment and the fit is there.

It makes too much sense.

  1. MSU has a need for wings.
  2. He loved his visit.
  3. He’s committing less than two weeks after his MSU visit.
  4. He complements the rest of MSU’s commits.
  5. MSU’s commits have been in his ear.
  6. Elite athletes have thrived in East Lansing (Shannon Brown, Branden Dawson, Miles Bridges, Jason Richardson).
  7. Izzo has proven to be a closer.

If I had a crystal ball, it would be Carr to Michigan State.

Michigan State basketball

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Could Michigan State basketball be in the mix for Purdue decommit Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn?

Four-star combo guard Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn decommitted from Purdue on Wednesday and Michigan State basketball could be in the mix.

Death. Taxes. Tom Izzo beating Matt Painter out for top recruits.

I tweeted this out after Xavier Booker committed to Michigan State basketball over Purdue and Indiana — the in-state schools — and it may actually need to come up again.

Four-star combo guard Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn (No. 48 nationally) decommitted from Purdue after being verbally solid since December. Izzo could swoop in once again and assert his recruiting dominance over Painter here.

Could Michigan State be in the mix for Gibbs-Lawhorn who was on the Spartans’ radar before he committed to Purdue? Ant Wright thinks so.

It’s wild how much Michigan State’s recruiting has turned around over the past couple of weeks. Maybe Gibbs-Lawhorn saw Booker commit to the Spartans along with Jeremy Fears (who he happens to be close with) and Gehrig Normand and wanted to be part of something special. Good players want to play with other good players and this could be just the latest case of that.

Michigan State may have reached out to Gibbs-Lawhorn or expressed interest in adding him to the expanded board, but I’m not completely sold that he’s priority No. 1 after Devin Royal commits to Ohio State.

After Royal, I think Izzo’s top priority is Coen Carr, a 6-foot-7 athletic freak from South Carolina, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan. Continuing to add to that recruiting board is important because if Carr commits elsewhere, he’ll look to add a high-caliber fourth prospect to the class. Gibbs-Lawhorn fits that bill.

For those who believe that Izzo could add both since there will be room and Carr and Gibbs-Lawhorn play different positions, I’d lean more toward him taking one or the other. Yes, both play different positions, but Izzo has been vocal about not reaching the scholarship limit anymore before “it’s impossible to make everyone happy.”

Plus, Gibbs-Lawhorn is a guard and he’d join an already-loaded backcourt with AJ Hoggard, Jaden Akins, Tre Holloman, Fears, and the potential for Tyson Walker to return for one final season. That wouldn’t make a ton of sense roster-wise. He’s 6-foot-1 so that limits his ability to play more on the wing like Akins.

And Michigan State hasn’t even offered yet, according to 247Sports.

Though I’m not sold on Gibbs-Lawhorn joining MSU just yet, others disagree. Tipton Edits posted about the decommitment and Xavier Booker commented along with Andrej Stojakovic, a top 25 recruit in the 2023 class who says that he believes that Fears and Dra “will be future teammates again.”

via Tipton Edits on Instagram

It’ll be interesting to see if Izzo puts on the press with Gibbs-Lawhorn and goes against his word this offseason and fills out the scholarships with a five-man class, but my money would be on him going all-in on Carr and by the time he decides, the Purdue decommit may have already chosen a new school.

Gehrig Normand

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Gehrig Normand has a game built for Michigan State basketball

Michigan State basketball just got better on Tuesday night.

Four-star small forward Gehrig Normand (North Richland Hills, Texas) committed to the Spartans three days after leaving East Lansing with a scholarship offer.

Tom Izzo proved that he’s not afraid to add to his recruiting board when the ‘Plan A’ targets don’t work out. Fans really wanted to see this from the Hall of Fame head coach after an up-and-down offseason.

Normand also fits that description of a ‘Spartan Dawg’ to a T. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and has plenty of confidence. He plays inside-out and while he may not be able to create his own shot at a high rate at the next level — at least early on — he will be able to score around the rim and from the perimeter.

Looking for a former Spartan comp? My mind goes directly to Matt McQuaid. Although McQuaid was pretty athletic, he wasn’t going to throw down on a regular basis. I’d say he has the shooting touch of McQuaid with even more athleticism. He has some bunnies, but he’ll be spending a lot of time on the perimeter as a freshman if I were to wager a guess. His athleticism is more comparable to that of a healthy Kyle Ahrens.

Normand’s game is built for Michigan State. Not only have players like him succeeded in East Lansing before, but he plays with a chip and he looks like he’ll be a 3-4 year player. He’s going to play on the wing while Fears runs the point and Booker has the post on lock. If the Spartans can add Coen Carr to this class, that would be best-case scenario.

Michigan State now has two guys in the class (Normand and Fears) who will be at least 3-4 year guys, more than likely, and Booker is a likely one-and-done.

With Normand in the fold, he’s going to grow into a fan favorite rather quickly and his ceiling is incredibly high. He’ll be one of those guys who will be a role player in year one, a potential starter in year two, and then a star in year three. That is the perfect Michigan State prospect.

Izzo is fist-pumping somewhere.

Michigan State basketball

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After slow start, Michigan State basketball’s 2023 recruiting class will be special

The 2023 Michigan State basketball recruiting class entered the new year with zero commits and plenty of question marks especially after Tom Izzo signed just two guys in his 2022 class.

Six days after the calendar turned to 2022, Jeremy Fears made it official and committed to the Spartans.

It was a slow start for Izzo, but Fears was the perfect prospect to kick things off. He’s the prototypical Michigan State point guard who plays fearlessly and with a chip on his shoulder. He is a natural leader and calls himself the “floor general” which is fitting because he commands respect from everyone when the ball is in his hands.

Nearly seven months passed without another commit, but on July 30, Xavier Booker made it official and joined the 2023 class as Izzo’s top-ranked pledge ever — No. 1 overall on Rivals and No. 3 on 247Sports.

Despite that slow start to the class and some fans even going as far as calling Izzo “washed” because of the last couple of classes and lack of utilization of the transfer portal, the Hall of Fame coach has put together a heck of a one-two punch for 2023. And he’s not even close to being done.

Devin Royal, a four-star wing from Ohio, was his No. 3 priority in the class behind Fears and Booker but it looks like he’s going to be committing to Ohio State over Michigan State. The relationship he built with Chris Holtmann was just too strong and long-lasting that Izzo’s late surge just wasn’t enough. But unlike the previous couple of cycles, Izzo immediately went to Plan B options before it was too late.

In fact, he hosted four-star athletic sharpshooting wing Gehrig Normand (North Richland Hills, Texas) this past weekend and extended him an offer before he left East Lansing. On Monday, Michigan State picked up a huge crystal ball from Justin Thind on 247Sports for Gehrig who would be that Matt McQuaid-type piece.

During that same weekend, Izzo hosted another uncommitted four-star wing in Coen Carr (Greenville, S.C.) who is an athletic specimen and would give the 2023 class a heck of a boost in that category. I’m thinking he’s more of a Branden Dawson-type who could add a jumper. He left East Lansing with an offer as well.

Izzo is putting in the work to land both of these ‘Plan B’ guys who actually have the talent to be Plan A targets and if all goes to plan, the 2023 class could rival 2016 as the most talented in MSU basketball history.

Time to smoke that Izzo doubters pack.