Even when it seems there is no possible way to keep improving, the future of Michigan State basketball just keeps getting better and better. It was recently announced that four-star small forward Aaron Henry from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis has committed to MSU for the 2018 season.
Henry filled up the stat sheet at Ben Davis last season as a junior, averaging 14.2 points. 6.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 42 percent from three point range. Henry also helped lead Ben Davis to a state title in Indiana.
Henry received offers from a number of legitimate programs such as Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Xavier and Butler.
The 6’5 200-pound forward received the majority of his double-digit offers after tearing it up in the Adidas Summer Gauntlet games, scoring 21 points per game over five contests. You can check out some of the highlights here.
This gives the Spartans one of the best, if not the best, 2018 freshman classes.
Believe it or not, despite being a four-star recruit on Rivals and ESPN, Henry is the lowest ranked recruit in the class. Henry joins a five-man class that includes all four-star recruits, as well as three ESPN Top 100 players: Foster Loyer, Gabe Brown, and Marcus Bingham.
Rivals actually did rank MSU’s 2018 class as the top in the country. While Scout believes the Spartans have the third best group of incoming freshman for 2018.
Having three four-star guys is for real, especially considering it’s not like those players just barely snuck into the top 100. All of the players are within ESPN’s top 82.
Henry was also very close to cracking this list. He was ranked as the seventh best forward from Indiana by ESPN. This leads me to my next point, which is that Henry gives MSU a ridiculous amount of forward depth.
Fellow recruits Brown (81st overall on ESPN), Bingham (82nd overall on ESPN), and Thomas Kithier (four star) are also forwards. And that doesn't even mention that MSU also has two ESPN Top 100 forwards joining the team for the 2017-’18 season as well. And these guys aren’t just Top 100 members, they are elite.
Jaren Jackson is one of the 30 five-star incoming freshman in the country. Jackson was also ranked as the 9th best 2017 incoming freshman on ESPN. He received offers from 18 D1 programs and is an absolute beast. The other forward, Xavier Tillman is a four-star 6-9 big man from Grand Rapids, Michigan who also received a ton of D1 offers. These guys will be nearly impossible to handle on the glass for opposing teams right off the bat.
Plain and simple, there most likely won’t be any teams in the Big Ten that can compete with MSU’s forwards next season, let alone the entire country. This will be even more of the case during the 2018-’19 when Henry, Brown, Bingham, and Kithier arrive.
Besides adding to forward depth, the addition of Aaron Henry extends to the long list of talent in East Lansing in 2018. Sure, Miles Bridges and Nick Ward will probably leave for the NBA at the end of next season. But, other than that, MSU really isn’t losing anything before Henry and the four other 2018 studs arrive.
Josh Langford and Cassius Winston, who each had promising freshman seasons, will be juniors and possible star players by the time the 2018-’19 season rolls around. Each averaged over six points per game as freshman last season and will definitely see their playing time increase this season and especially in two seasons when Bridges and Ward are probably gone. The good thing is that this probably won’t interfere with guys like Henry and the other forwards playing time in MSU because Langford and Winston are both guards.
Matt McQuaid is also someone that is worth mentioning here. He is another guard that should still be in East Lansing when Henry and the plethora of forwards arrive. McQuaid only averaged 5.6 points last season as a sophomore. But, he has improved since his freshman season, and by the time he’s a senior there is a significant chance that the Duncanville, TX native will at least be a valuable role player.
The bottom line is that you should expect a forward-heavy lineup for the Spartans during the 2018-’19 season. I mean that team will literally have at least five former ESPN Top 100 forwards on it at the same time.
And, wow, just thinking about the possibility of Bridges and Ward sticking around that long makes my eyes water. I can see it now, a top five MSU team starting Bridges and freshman Foster Loyer as guards, while Ward leads a starting monstrous forward trio including Jaren Jackson and Xavier Tillman. Langford, Winston, McQuaid, Henry, Brown, Bingham, and Kithier as potential bench players would also give the 2018-2019’ practically two talented starting fives.
It’s an exciting time to be a Spartan fan.