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 email@example.com and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Tom Izzo adds another talented walk-on
Michigan State and coach Tom Izzo have had plenty of chances to see Brock Washington through the years.
Since seventh grade, the Southfield (Mich.) Christian guard has played his travel basketball for The Family, the premier AAU club in Detroit. But it wasn’t until after the 6-foot-4 senior’s time with The Family ended that he first heard from the Spartans.
Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stephens dropped by Washington’s school to see an early-morning team workout in late March. Stephens apparently left impressed, because he offered the preferred walk-on spot that would eventually draw a commitment from Washington on Tuesday.
— Brock Washington (@brock_wash) May 30, 2017
“It feels great; it’s wonderful,” Washington said. “I’ve been a Michigan State fan my whole life. They showed me a video from a reunion and everybody came back and everybody loved it. Of course, I want to be a part of a family like that. It just seemed like the best opportunity for me and a place I could grow.”
It took a little while for Washington to come to that decision. He still had a scholarship offer from Buffalo and interest from Central Michigan, Colgate, Detroit and Oakland.
He also had some visits planned, but after taking in East Lansing on May 15, he realized he didn’t need to go elsewhere. He had a chance to hang out with point guards Tum Tum Nairn and Cassius Winston, and he was shown around the Michigan State campus by the coaching staff.
“I got a complete tour of the facilities, the academics, the dorms and the cafeterias with Coach Stephens,” Washington said. “They showed me videos, and I sat down with Coach Izzo a few times. We just had some talks. It was a really nice visit.”
So with a week left of high school and little more than two weeks before he’s scheduled to move in at Michigan State, Washington accepted the offer to study business and walk on with the Spartans.
He’ll have a chance to follow in the footsteps of former Michigan State star Gary Harris, after whom he models his game. He’s already got Harris’ height, and now he’s working to add the strength to compete at the college level.
A 1,000-point scorer in high school, Washington stands out with his jumper. He set a Southfield Christian record with 148 career three-pointers. He earned Class D first team all-state honors as a senior.
“I think I’m a player that can do everything,” Washington said. “I’m a really good shooter, but I also take a lot of pride in my defense and my hustle and my leadership.”
As a walk-on, Washington won’t be pressured to make hefty on-court contributions. He said the staff’s expectations are that he works hard and is a good teammate. His expectations are even higher.
“I want to do everything I can possibly to win a national championship and make the team better,” he said. “I do think it’s a really good chance that we have, especially with how good of a group this is with its chemistry.”
How’s the roster looking?
As was the case with Robert Morris transfer and Spartans walk-on Braden Burke, Washington’s commitment doesn’t affect the Spartans’ scholarship count for the 2017-18 season. They still have 12 spots filled — heavy in the front-court — with the option of adding another scholarship player.
|Tum Tum Nairn||Josh Langford||Miles Bridges||Jaren Jackson Jr.||Nick Ward|
|Cassius Winston||Matt McQuaid||Kyle Ahrens||Gavin Schilling||Xavier Tillman|
|Kenny Goins||Ben Carter|
But will they? The urgency hasn’t been there. Michigan State’s staff has been putting much more effort into getting ahead with the 2018 class and pursuing a number of talented wings such as 4-star guard Luguentz Dort and 4-star forward Brandon Johns.
Should a top young talent express interest in joining the Spartans, great. But it appears the staff would be content to stash the spot to keep more openings available for 2018. The best of both worlds, of course, would be if they could find a graduate-transfer guard with one year of eligibility remaining.