4-star 2016 power forward Nick Ward, has recently committed to coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan Spartans.
Nick Ward Breakdown
Ward is going to be tough player to defend in the paint when he gets his chance to play during the 2016-2017 season. He is extremely powerful in the low post and he uses his body very well to fight for rebounds and score down in the block. Ward has a mid-range game, but that is something he will need to improve during his time at Michigan State and that is something that most Michigan State power forwards in the past try to improve on. Ward is another elite power forward that Tom Izzo has been able to ink; Draymond Green, Branden Dawson, and Adreian Payne are other examples in recent years of great power forwards attending Michigan State.
Ward is Michigan State's first 2016 verbal commitment, and Ward's decision comes not even a month after 2015 5-star recruit Caleb Swanigan's decision to become a Spartan. If Swangian decides to declare for the NBA draft after his first season at Michigan State, Ward will be there to help fill the void for coach Izzo. Ward is exactly the type of player that coach Izzo loves because he is a smart basketball player that always boxes out, and he makes a living scoring in the paint. Ward is not going to be an explosive athletic force in college basketball, but he will be everything that coach Izzo wants in a power forward.
Ward chose Michigan State over other Big Ten schools, including Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue,Wisconsin, and Iowa. Ohio State would have seemed like the favorite to land Ward, since his is an Ohio native, but in the end, Michigan State was his final decision.
Ward's Impact on Michigan State in 2016-2017
Obviously Michigan State has pretty high expectation for this season, since they have recruited two top 20 recruits, they have key returning players, and because Tom Izzo is still the coach, but what does Ward mean for Michigan State's 2016-2017 season?
Michigan State will be losing three vital players after the 2015-2016 season, including Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, and Matt Costello. After those player leave, Ward will get his chance to shine for the Spartans. Coach Izzo is also targeting 2016 5-star recruit Miles Bridges, Josh Jackson, and Josh Langford for the 2016-2017 season where the Spartans might be in rebuild mode, unless they land some of those elite recruits.
If Swanigan and Deyonta Davis return for their sophomore seasons at Michigan State, and the Spartans can sign one of the 5-star recruits they are targeting; the Spartans could be in the mix for a Big Ten championship during the 2016-2017 season. Ward is hopefully just the first big time recruit that will play for the Spartans during the 2016-2017 season because coach Izzo has proven in the past that he can have elite recruits come and play for Michigan Sate.
Ward is still only a junior in high school, which means he still has another year to improve his already talented game before he arrives at Michigan State.