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Big … big … BIG weekend on tap for Michigan State basketball
This weekend couldn’t be much bigger for Michigan State men’s basketball.
First off, the No. 4 Spartans host No. 3 Purdue on Saturday. Michigan State has won seven in a row; the Boilermakers suffered their first conference loss and saw their 19-game winning streak end at the hands of Ohio State on Wednesday.
At 11-2 in Big Ten play, the Spartans sit a game behind co-leaders Purdue and Ohio State.
The Boilermakers tilt will also be the Jud Heathcote Tribute Game, honoring the late Michigan State coach who led to program to its first NCAA Tournament championship. Any questions about why this is a big one?
Well, if you weren’t convinced, there’s a recruiting element, as well. Vernon Carey Jr., the No. 2 player in the 2019 class per the 247Sports composite, will be in East Lansing for the second time this weekend. However, this will be an official visit and the first time he has been able to take in an MSU basketball game.
Michigan State official this weekend ⚪️✅ #Spartans
— Vernon Carey Jr. (@vernoncarey22) February 7, 2018
Carey, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) junior, would be an absolutely massive pickup for Michigan State. His father starred at tackle for Miami (Fla.) before making his way in the NFL, and Duke is after him just as hard as the Hurricanes. It’s a positive sign for the Spartans that his first official visit is being used on them.
Michigan State has yet to land a commitment from a 2019 recruit, and Carey has no reason to come to a decision anytime soon. Regardless of how long he waits, any team in the nation would make room for him on its roster. The Spartans are ready to make an impression that Carey will remember whenever he makes that pick. Four-star point guard Foster Loyer and 3-star wing Aaron Henry, both Michigan State signees, will both be on campus to help show the 16-year-old power forward a good time.
— FosterLoyer (@FosterLoyer) February 7, 2018
In 22 games with Nike Team Florida on the Nike EYBL circuit in 2017, Carey averaged 17.1 points on 60.5-percent shooting from 2-point range, 35.7 percent on 3-pointers and 69.6 percent on free throws. He also averaged 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 assists.
Other 2019 Michigan State men’s basketball targets
Outside of Carey and 5-star South Garland (Texas) point guard Tyrese Maxey, Michigan State has mainly targeted Midwestern recruits in the 2019 class. And coach Tom Izzo and his staff have aimed high.
The Spartans have offered one of the best in-state trios in recent memory, all 4-star, top-60 juniors: combo guards Harlond Beverly and Mark Rocket Watts, as well as wing Romeo Weems.
Michigan State has also offered three juniors from Indiana (5-star wing Keion Brooks, 5-star center Isaiah Stewart, 4-star center Trayce Jackson-Davis) as well as 5-star forward Alonzo Gaffney from Cleveland.
It’s a good time for Michigan State to have a lot of open scholarships. The Spartans are currently over-signed in the 2018 class, but there is a good chance both Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr. bolt for the NBA after this season. If so, it would set up four open spots for 2019.
|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.)|
|*—Former walk-on put on scholarship this season. It is unclear if he will be on scholarship beyond this season.|
And that’s assuming everyone else sticks around. Who knows what decision Nick Ward will make? That number could potentially get even bigger. The Spartans have an opportunity to put together one of the best classes in program history if they keep their foot down.
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