On the banks of the Red Cedar, recruiting never stops. We’re here every step of the way to keep you moving along with it through our daily notebook. Any recruiting questions? Comment below or direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to get them answered.
Have you gotten wrapped up in March Madness already?
Who hasn’t? Seven Big Ten teams ended up in the dance, including Michigan State as a No. 9 seed. Bracket challenges have been posted. Picks have been made by experts. Trash talking and paper tearing are set to commence soon.
But don’t forget about a different, much bigger bracket. The 2017 Michigan Class A Boys Basketball Tournament continues to crush the dreams of many and draw others closer to their own. We’ve now reached the regionals.
In Class A, Michigan State’s three in-state basketball commits all seized district championships. Grand Rapids Christian senior big man Xavier Tillman, who signed in November to join the Spartans, put up 21 points and 7 rebounds on Friday to lead the Eagles to a 73-54 win over East Kentwood.
The victory gave Grand Rapids Christian its second straight district title. Tillman and the Eagles move on to face Muskegon at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Both teams come in at 23-0. The game will be played at Grand Haven.
After posting 19 points and 12 rebounds in each of the first two games of districts, per his school, Macomb Dakota junior forward Thomas Kithier put up 22 points in a 65-51 win Saturday over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North to win the district.
District champs pic.twitter.com/LJXblpwRKT
— Dakota Basketball (@Dakota_Bball) March 12, 2017
Michigan State will have to wait another year before it can get Kithier, as it will with Clarkston point guard Foster Loyer. His Wolves — coached by Dan Fife, father of Michigan State assistant Dane Fife — gave Waterford Kettering a 65-7 beating on Friday to seize the district title.
And were you wondering about football commits? Michigan State has a couple who are still hooping. Walled Lake Western and Spartans receiver signee Cody White advanced to regionals with a 51-45 win over Walled Lake Central, while Dearborn Divine Child and junior QB Theo Day did the same by beating Dearborn Heights Robichaud 49-35.
But the real story was Kithier and Loyer. The two met Monday evening once again: 20-3 Dakota against 22-1 Clarkston. Loyer felt the pain of losing to Dakota in regionals last year and to current MSU point guard Cassius Winston’s U-D Jesuit team as a freshman.
This time around, Loyer left no doubt. He scored a game-high 31 points to lead Clarkston to a convincing 68-48 win at Grand Blanc and avenge last year’s loss. Kithier scored 12 points in the game.
— Clarkston Basketball (@ClarkstonBball) March 13, 2017
Clarkston advances to the regional finals, where it will face Rochester Hills Stoney Creek or Linden. Four more wins would give the Wolves the title.
And if they were to meet Tillman’s Eagles, it would be in the state championship. That dream matchup might just happen.
Spartans offer Oklahoma commit
Is a player’s sophomore year too early to make a college commitment that will last? Well, Michigan State seems to be testing that.
2019 Travis (Richmond, Texas) wide receiver Arjei Henderson committed to Oklahoma on Feb. 19 and has since picked up several more big-time offers, including Florida State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oregon. The latest to jump in was Michigan State on Saturday.
— Hendi™ (@king_hendi) March 11, 2017
Rated a 4-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, Henderson will certainly be heavily pursued until his National Signing Day, about two years from now. And with plenty of time to go, Michigan State wants to make sure he has a tangible sign of its interest.
Henderson did not respond to a request for comment about the offer.
The Ben Davis Boyz
Michigan State hasn’t really broken into Indianapolis during Mark Dantonio’s tenure as head coach.
That is, except for one very successful 2010 class commit: safety Isaiah Lewis, who finished his college career with 8 interceptions for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Michigan State is back pursuing several prospects from Ben Davis High, Lewis’ alma mater in Indianapolis. Back in late February, four players visited campus: 3-star running back Johnny Adams, athlete Reese Taylor, defensive back Jontae Dobson and wide receiver Broc Thompson.
— Johnny B. Adams Sr. (@JohnnyBAdamsSr1) February 26, 2017
Most of the coaches’ interest to this point has gone toward Adams and Taylor. Adams was pulled aside by Dantonio to chat at an earlier visit for a 7-on-7 tournament. And when asked about the latest trip, Taylor said it “went good.”
This time around, the others were offered valuable face time with the coaches as well. Dobson, who had visited before, got to talk with the coaches for the first time and had a very positive reaction to the trip.
“It was very nice,” he said. “I liked it. I loved the food and the intensity of the (spring practice). There are also some very cool coaches. Overall, Michigan State is a very nice place I could see myself fitting in.”
Indianapolis certainly offers a lot of talent, and though it hasn’t been a point of emphasis in the past several years for Michigan State, this talented 2018 class at Ben Davis could make it one.