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Quinn Slazinski has a history in Michigan.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore has lived in Chicago and Los Angeles and now attends Houston’s Westbury Christian, but he spent a large portion of his childhood in the mitten.
He grew up in both Grand Rapids and Traverse City. His brother attends Saginaw Valley State. His parents hail from Detroit and his grandparents still live in East Lansing.
“I grew up wearing Spartan shirts and stuff like that,” Slazinski told Land of 10. “I always watched them growing up before any colleges contacted me.”
And yet he had never attended a game until he headed up to the Breslin Center for the Spartans’ 70-62 win over Michigan on Jan. 29. He had visited campus in June and was shown around by head coach Tom Izzo. Slazinski said he “loved it,” but with no players around, there wasn’t much action.
?East Lansing https://t.co/6AzZqkdhgI
— Quinn Slazinski (@QSlaz1) January 28, 2017
The second time around, he got a taste of the real campus atmosphere. The Izzone student section’s chants to 5-star La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) wing Brian Bowen particularly stuck out.
“It was my first game ever, and what a first game to go to,” he said. “The student section, it was so crazy. They started chanting stuff like ‘We want Bowen.’ It was like a movie.”
Slazinski has gotten to know the La Lumiere players quite well. His Wildcats faced off against the Lakers in December, and he’s spent time with Spartans signee Jaren Jackson Jr. while participating in October’s USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team minicamp in Colorado.
Jackson and Slazinski hung out during the visit, chatting in Izzo’s office before hitting the road. They caught up about their time at minicamp, where Jackson did some recruiting.
“I’m great friends with Jaren,” Slazinski said. “When I was talking to him in Colorado, he was telling me about the good stuff about Michigan State.”
The Spartans started recruiting him during the summer on the Under Armour travel circuit, where he averaged 12.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Houston Defenders.
Since then, Michigan State assistant coach Dwayne Stephens has come down to see him multiple times, and he continues to build a good relationship with Izzo and assistant coach Dane Fife. He’s also developed a strong impression of the program, aided by how long he’s been watching it.
“I think Michigan State’s very different from a lot of colleges when it comes to playing style,” Slazinski said. “You have a lot of hard workers at Michigan State, team first rather than the individual aspect of it. They said I’d fit right in.”
The Spartans haven’t offered yet. Slazinski said he has eight so far: Houston, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Rice, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Tulane.
He looks up to Jarred Vanderbilt, a Houston-area Kentucky 5-star signee to whom he thinks his game compares. They both possess great size with the ability to handle the ball like a guard.
“People like to say I’m an old-school player,” Slazinski said. “I’m a workhorse, like a blue-collar worker, so I’m definitely on the rebounds a lot. I like to push the ball off the rebound and just create for other people. I love passing. I get a lot more excited off an amazing pass than a regular shot.”
Given his view of Michigan State as a team-oriented program, it seems a good fit. But Slazinski isn’t thinking too deeply about his college decision. He’s focused on the immediate future, namely bringing Westbury Christian its 21st straight TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) state title in boys basketball.
Recruiting remains on his mind, but as a member of the 2019 class, he has no reason to rush.
“Right now, I’m just looking at things from afar,” Slazinski said, “not going too deep into the decision but trying to get a quick look at all the schools and see which schools would fit me and my playing style.”
Michigan State target commits elsewhere
The Spartans lost out on a cornerback target Wednesday when 4-star Tigard (Ore.) athlete Braden Lenzy committed to Notre Dame.
— Braden Lenzy (@blspeedy21) February 23, 2017
The decision didn’t come as a huge surprise. Lenzy recently visited Notre Dame and hadn’t looked to be leaning toward the Spartans.
But it does come as a concern that the Irish have been on fire on the recruiting trail lately. They have 11 commits in their 2018 class, which ranks second in the nation, per the 247Sports composite.
And in the last 10 days alone, Brian Kelly’s program has picked up commitments from three 4-star Michigan State targets: Lenzy, cornerback Kalon Gervin and wide receiver Micah Jones.
Three-star DE Malik Vann and 4-star OT Ryan Hayes remain as targets of both the Irish and Spartans. Hayes continues to blow up in a big way and recently received an offer from Michigan, per Scout’s Allen Trieu.
— Allen Trieu (@AllenTrieu) February 23, 2017
Michigan State needs to work quickly if it wants to avoid losing even more of its top targets to South Bend.