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What Aaron Henry brings to Michigan State
Aaron Henry’s high school basketball coach, Mark James, didn’t anticipate it would take long for his star player to come to a college decision.
“We’re not going to mess around with this,” the Indianapolis Ben Davis coach told Land of 10 on Aug 29. “He’s going to get this done pretty quickly, I think. I’d be surprised if it goes until the end of September.”
It didn’t get close to that. Henry, a 2018 3-star wing in the 247Sports composite ratings, loved his Michigan State official visit so much that he committed during a weightlifting session on Monday. He had in-home visits with several schools scheduled, but Michigan State had long been a dream school, and he made up his mind quickly.
“This is a lifetime decision and I feel my family and I made the right decision,” Henry wrote on Twitter. “I will be attending Michigan State University.”
East lansinggg what’s goooooood? ✅✅✅ pic.twitter.com/zrxkVPuhUO
— AH🎈 (@henny2x) September 11, 2017
Michigan State now has five commits in its 2018 class: Henry, 4-star forward Marcus Bingham Jr., 4-star wing Gabe Brown, 4-star point guard Foster Loyer, and 3-star forward Thomas Kithier. The class ranks third in the nation. No other class in Division I has as many as four commits.
Henry is the first player from outside of Michigan to commit to the class. So what does this wing player bring to the group that makes him unique? It starts with his 6-foot-5 frame and 6-11 wingspan, which allows him to guard and play multiple positions.
“He’s really good in transition with the ball,” James said. “He finishes well and gives up the ball well. We play him all over the court. We don’t lock him into just one position. I’ve even played him back-to-basket a little bit. He’s a really strong, athletic kid.”
Henry’s length makes him a menace on the defensive end, where he averaged 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks during the adidas Summer Championships. On offense, he has proven to be an efficient scorer who can hit from 3-point range and finish above the rim.
Michigan State will be loaded with long, athletic wings for years to come, so let’s break down how those future rosters might look.
Michigan State basketball scholarship breakdown
Michigan State has 14 scholarships set to be filled for the 2018-19 season, possibly 15 if Conner George remains on scholarship. George, a junior guard, has been put on scholarship for the 2017-18 season, per Zach Berridge. Berridge reports that the situation will be revisited after the season.
Division I men’s basketball programs, however, can put only 13 players on scholarship. For Henry’s commitment to work, one Spartans player with remaining eligibility must either go off scholarship or leave the program early. The former is unlikely, but star forward Miles Bridges likely will be a lottery pick in the NBA draft if he leaves after this season. The same might be true for incoming freshman Jaren Jackson Jr.
It appears likely that Michigan State has finished its 2018 class, but if multiple players depart early, they might have room to add another recruit. Here’s how the scholarship situation plays out for the next few years.
|1||Ben Carter (Sr.)||Kyle Ahrens (Sr.)||Miles Bridges (Sr.)||Jaren Jackson Jr. (Sr.)|
|2||Gavin Schilling (Sr.)||Kenny Goins (Sr.)||Josh Langford (Sr.)||Xavier Tillman (Sr.)|
|3||Tum Tum Nairn (Sr.)||Matt McQuaid (Sr.)||Nick Ward (Sr.)||Marcus Bingham Jr. (Jr.)|
|4||Kyle Ahrens (Jr.)||Miles Bridges (Jr.)||Cassius Winston (Sr.)||Gabe Brown (Jr.)|
|5||Conner George (Jr.)*||Josh Langford (Jr.)||Jaren Jackson Jr. (Jr.)||Aaron Henry (Jr.)|
|6||Kenny Goins (Jr.)||Nick Ward (Jr.)||Xavier Tillman (Jr.)||Thomas Kithier (Jr.)|
|7||Matt McQuaid (Jr.)||Cassius Winston (Jr.)||Marcus Bingham Jr. (So.)||Foster Loyer (Jr.)|
|8||Miles Bridges (So.)||Jaren Jackson Jr. (So.)||Gabe Brown (So.)|
|9||Josh Langford (So.)||Xavier Tillman (So.)||Aaron Henry (So.)|
|10||Nick Ward (So.)||Marcus Bingham Jr. (Fr.)||Thomas Kithier (So.)|
|11||Cassius Winston (So.)||Gabe Brown (Fr.)||Foster Loyer (So.)|
|12||Jaren Jackson Jr. (Fr.)||Aaron Henry (Fr.)|
|13||Xavier Tillman (Fr.)||Thomas Kithier (Fr.)|
|Foster Loyer (Fr.)|
*This chart operates under the idea that George won’t be on scholarship after this season.
Looking ahead to the 2019 class, should both Bridges and Jackson be gone, the Spartans would have room for four commits.
Spartans react to Aaron Henry’s commitment
It only took one visit for Aaron Henry to commit to Michigan State. More than the campus and facilities, he said the people made the difference in his decision.
And the people congratulated Henry on his decision. Several Spartans took to Twitter to do so, led by the current face of the program, Miles Bridges.
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges01) September 11, 2017
— Jaren Jackson Jr. (@therealjnari_) September 11, 2017
A fellow 2018 commit, Marcus Bingham Jr., shared his congratulations as well.
— Marcus Bingham Jr (@Marcusbingham0) September 11, 2017
One weekend on campus seemed to be enough for Henry to build bonds with Michigan State players of the past, present and future. Many converged on East Lansing over the weekend, and it led to a commitment.
But wait, there’s more
Aaron Henry’s commitment wasn’t the only big story of the weekend for Michigan State men’s basketball. Another Indiana native — 4-star Center Grove (Greenwood) forward Trayce Jackson-Davis — came for an official visit and left with an offer.
— Trayce Jackson-Davis (@TrayceJackson) September 9, 2017
Jackson-Davis, the No. 68 player in the 2019 class, stands 6-8 and weighs 210 pounds. Butler, Indiana, Purdue and Xavier also have offered. His high school coach, Zach Hahn, played on the two recent Butler teams that advanced to the national championship game.
The Spartans are expected to host another power forward — 5-star University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) junior Vernon Carey Jr. — for a visit the weekend of Sept. 23-24. Carey is the top-ranked player in the class and has received a Michigan State offer.
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