It’s been a busy offseason in East Lansing for Tom Izzo and there’s one thing left on the list.
Izzo and the Spartans are awaiting the decision of Taurean Thompson, who visited Michigan State recently. The four-star big man is one of the final pins to drop in the 2016 recruiting class. Thompson (No. 75) and Bruno Fernando (No. 72) are the lone members of ESPN Top 100 for the Class of 2016 that haven't committed. Thompson, a 6’9" power forward from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH, is expected to make his decision at any time now.
While Syracuse has long been the favorite to land Thompson, Michigan State has joined the action late and worked to make up ground. Thompson has already visited Syracuse, Seton Hall, Connecticut and Xavier, but it never hurts to get a recruit on campus last.
Last week, Thompson told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that he would be committing soon after visiting Michigan State and was excited to finish the recruiting process.
"I want to commit," Thompson told Zagoria. "I want to start college now."
But he also told Zagoria he wanted to check out what Michigan State had to offer first.
"Coach Izzo said he can't wait to get me down to campus and meet me," Thompson said. "I don't really know anybody down there. But they're probably going to have a real good team next season, so why not give them a look?"
The Spartans offered Thompson on April 28 after a tumultuous spring that saw Javon Bess and Marvin Clark Jr. transfer from the program and Deyonta Davis enter the NBA Draft. Combined with the graduations of Matt Costello, Colby Wollenman, Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes, there were plenty of roster spots to fill.
Ben Carter, a 6’9" graduate transfer from UNLV, will help soften the blow in the middle, but Thompson would provide another boost to a Spartan team that will be relatively undersized. Signing Thompson would also cap off what is already one of the best recruiting classes in Izzo’s Hall of Fame career.
If the Spartans can pull Thompson away from Syracuse and Seton Hall, all five members of their recruiting class will be ranked in the top 75 in the Class of 2016, according to ESPN. The Spartans will already welcome Miles Bridges (No. 8), Josh Langford (No. 19), Cassius Winston (No. 31) and Nick Ward (No. 39) to campus this fall, and Michigan State fans have been waiting to see what that quartet will bring.
Ward is the only true big man of the group and should join Gavin Schilling and Kenny Goins among the power forwards and centers in Michigan State’s projected rotation.
The Spartans are ranked second in the Big Ten in our most recent Way Too Early 2016 Power Rankings and it's unlikely they would jump the Wisconsin Badgers with the addition of Thompson. While Thompson would potentially have an impact on the floor in 2016-17, the future potential is more intriguing. A five-man recruiting class that has top-ranked players at each position at the floor would be rare among Big Ten schools, likely only something that Michigan State could pull off.