Michigan State entered the 2013-14 season with extremely high expectations as one of the picks to win it all. With that being said, the incoming recruiting class was not expected to make a big splash right away.
However, as the years went one each player made some form of impact and while it wasn’t a dominant class it had it’s bright spots. And there’s still time for it to improve its stock with one player from the class still on the roster.
This class was not by any means a heralded group. It may -- based on rankings -- have been one of Izzo’s worst recruiting classes ever mainly because he missed out on some big name prospects during that cycle -- Jabari Parker comes to mind.
The 2013 recruiting class ranked 79th in the country in 247Sports recruiting team rankings with a pair of three star prospects making up the class. Shooting guard Alvin Ellis and power forward Gavin Schilling were the two players Michigan State added to the 2013-14 team, and neither were expected to have big roles right away.
Both players were expected to be four-year players and that’s exactly what happened. Ellis’ career in East Lansing is all done but Schilling is back after receiving a medical redshirt last year.
Alvin Ellis (SG, #65 by 247Sports)
Ellis never became a consistent scorer for Michigan State in his four years but by his senior year he was someone that provided strong minutes off the bench.
In his first three years Ellis never averaged more than three points per game. He also averaged less than 10 minutes per game. However, his production began to increase as a senior this past season. As a senior Ellis’ numbers improved to 6.4 points, 1.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds across 19.4 minutes played per game. All of those were career highs.
While none of those averages were anything spectacular, as I mentioned he was a spark plug off the bench. He was especially important this past year in a few big wins where he erupted for the Spartans. That includes a 20-point performance on the road at Minnesota and 18 points at home against Ohio State. He shot 36 percent from three point range in his career -- which is solid -- and in both of those games the long ball was key for Ellis.
As a three-star recruit I believe it’s fair to say he lived up to his recruiting ranking. He wasn’t ever going to be a superstar for Michigan State but by his senior year he was able to give some good minutes off the bench and occasionally provide a huge performance to propel the Spartans to a victory.
Gavin Schilling (PF, #39 by 247Sports)
At 6-foot-9, 240 pounds Schilling has the measures to be a dominant low post player in the Big Ten, however, he has yet to reach that level in East Lansing. The good news is his career isn’t over yet and he could play a pivotal role on next year’s squad.
Schilling barely saw the floor as a freshman but his role escalated as a sophomore with many expecting him to become another great Spartan big. His averages all jumped from his freshman to sophomore season, improving to 5.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. His playing time also jumped more than 10 minutes per game. Signs were pointing towards a solid final two years in East Lansing but injuries derailed his career.
Schilling only appeared in 24 games his junior season and last year missed the entire season with a season-ending knee injury. He was able to receive a medical redshirt and will now return next year as a fifth-year senior. He is expected to contend for a starting spot on next year’s team.
As I mentioned before, Schilling has the size and strength to be a great big man in this league. However, injuries have played a role during his career at Michigan State and it’ll be interesting to see how he recovers from last year’s knee injury. If he is able to improve upon his sophomore season numbers then Michigan State will be in a good position, especially with what they also have in the post. That’ll also be the final indicator in determining if he panned out or not.
At this time we are unable to give a final grade on the 2013 recruiting class. With Schilling still on the roster it’s not fair to completely grade this class.
Ellis, in my opinion, matched the expectations he brought to Michigan State as a three-star recruit. Schilling at this point is on his way to that as well. This class wasn’t by any means one that Izzo brags about so living up to the expectations wasn’t necessarily that hard. It was an average class with both guys being primarily role players and that’s exactly what they’ve been.
Schilling is expected to play a decent role on next year’s team that is heavy favorites to win the Big Ten and contend for a National Championship. If he boosts his numbers and is a solid 20-plus minutes per game player on a team that accomplishes great things than this class gets a great rating. If he doesn’t contribute much next year or the team doesn’t live up to the hype than it’ll end up being just average.