As signing day approaches for football, hoops news tends to take a bit of a backseat this time of year. This past weekend, however, the rosters for the annual McDonald’s All-American game was released, which featured just one Big-Ten commit as well as a few targets. Below, we’ll recap that and other recruiting news from over the weekend.
Jaren Jackson heading to the McDonald’s All-American game
The game itself isn’t for another few months, but the releasing of the rosters is always big news in the world of college basketball. This year’s rosters, however, feature just one player already committed to a Big-Ten school, and only a few other targets from within the conference.
As the highest rated Big-Ten recruit, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, it is not surprise to see MSU commit Jaren Jackson heading to high school basketball’s premier showcase. The 6’10 forward from Indiana is a 5-star recruit and expected to be an instant impact player for the Spartans in 2017, and seeing him up against the best players from around the country in Chicago will give Spartan fans as good an idea of just how good a prospect they’re getting as they’ll get.
Big-Ten targets in the McDonald’s All-American game
The Spartans are hoping that, as they did last year when they sent Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford to the game, they’ll have multiple commits participating. By the looks of it, Izzo and co. might end up seeing as many as three future Spartans in the game.
5-star forward Brian Bowen, a teammate of Jaren Jackson’s at La Lumiere school in Indiana, is going to participate in the game, and is also a seen as a Michigan State lean. Bowen is slated to visit East Lansing in the not so distant future before making his final decision. As someone already expected to go green, the Spartans getting the last shot to have him on campus could seal the deal for them.
Along with Bowen, the other major Michigan State target taking part in the McDonald’s All-American game is 5-star San Diego forward Brandon McCoy. The Spartans are battling Arizona, and Oregon, among others for the elite big man, who has yet to announce a final decision date.
All three of Bowen, Jackson and McCoy will be competing for the west team in this game, and you can be sure that Izzo would love to see three of his future stars playing together and building chemistry before even getting to campus.
The other Big-Ten target chosen for the game is 5-star wing M.J Walker, out of Georgia. Walker has not set a precise timeline for a commitment, but he appears to be considering a few schools, including Ohio State and Maryland. According to his 247Sports.com Crystal Ball, he’s leaning towards heading to College Park and becoming a Terp.
I can almost guarantee you that not one Michigan fan has ever actually watched 5-star New York big man Mohamed Bamba highlights out of complete fear of disappointment. With Duke and Kentucky having been heavily involved in his recruitment from the start, it was with good reason that fans of the maize and blue would approach this one with a great deal of trepidation, to say the least.
Bamba visited Michigan officially all the way back in September, and I’m fairly certain no one who follows Michigan basketball really expected much to come from it.
Well, over the weekend, Bamba cut his list of over 20 offers down to 4 finalists. Unsurprisingly, that list included the Wildcats and Blue Devils, but it also included the Wolverines. Texas rounded out that top-4.
If anything, this confirms that his interest in Michigan is truly, truly legitimate. Schools like Uconn, Louisville, North Carolina, Indiana and Syracuse had offers out to the 5-star, but it was Michigan that made his final cut. Now, that may not mean much, but it is an indication of how well the Wolverines did in appealing to his desire to go to a strong academic school. For proof, at one point in his recruitment, Bamba was considering Harvard.
Jason Marcum wrote in a piece on Bamba run by SBNation.com’s Kentucky affiliate aseasofblue.com: “Seeing all those schools [Michigan, Syracuse and Harvard] along with Duke in the running shows you how important academics are to the 6-10 forward out of New York.”
Beilein is going to have a tough time pulling him away from Calipari and Krzyzewski, but they are certainly in this one. He has yet to visit Duke or Kentucky officially, but is currently setting up visits to both, according to an article by James Hawkins of Mlive.com.
“Definitely towards the end of March or early April,” Bamba said. “I kind of want to get home for spring break. Our spring break is March. … I kind of want to do visits with the coaches after that and make a decision after that,” via James Hawkins’ article on Mlive.com.
Bamba is also set to play in the McDonald’s All-American. Michigan fans hope they can have Bamba to ease the pain of Michigan State’s potential trio of 5-stars.