Michigan State’s 2016 recruiting class is likely set in stone. The final question was answered on July 1, when Taurean Thompson committed to play for Syracuse. The 6’9" power forward, the last ESPN Top 100 recruit to commit, chose Syracuse over Michigan State and Seton Hall.
"I had a bunch of great schools to choose from,'' Thompson told Mike Waters of Syracuse.com. "I was weighing my options. It was a tough decision. … I felt comfortable with the school. I was familiar with everybody. I felt it was the place for me to be.''
The Spartans are still in great shape. The Class of 2016 includes four top-40 ESPN recruits in Miles Bridges (No. 8), Josh Langford (No. 19), Cassius Winston (No. 31) and Nick Ward (No. 39).
Now Tom Izzo and the coaching staff will turn their full attention turns to the Class of 2017, which could be another big one. The Spartans will need to replace Eron Harris, Gavin Schilling, Alvin Ellis and Ben Carter, as well as any of the underclassmen who may leave early. It’s likely the first 2017 commit will come before the summer is out. Where will it come from? Indiana is a good bet.
Brian Bowen has long been considered Michigan State’s top prospect. The 6’7" 5-star small forward is ranked 10th in the ESPN Top 100. A Saginaw, Mich. native, Bowen is currently playing for La Lumiere in La Porte, Ind. He also has connections throughout the basketball world. Bowen is related to Jason Richardson, a former Spartan star and NBA standout. He has been around the Michigan State program for years, even taking part in the 2000 National Championship parade.
Michigan State is also a finalist for Bowen’s teammate at La Lumiere, Jeremiah Tilmon. In late June, Tilmon narrowed his options down to Michigan State, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina and Texas. The 6’11" four-star recruit, an Illinois native, is ranked 29th in the Class of 2017. Tilmon isn’t playing AAU this spring, as he dislocated his shoulder during the Dick’s Sporting Goods National championship game and had surgery on May 28.
The Spartans are also on the final list for Paul Scruggs, a 6’4" point guard from Indianapolis. Scruggs, a four-star recruit and ranked 33rd in the nation by ESPN, is considered to be leaning towards Indiana. Scruggs also has Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State and Xavier on his list.
On the other hand, the Spartans are likely the favorite for another Indiana native, Malik Williams. The 7’0" four-star big man from Fort Wayne also has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Purdue, although the Spartans appear to have the edge.
There will likely be playing time available for the 2017-18 Spartans and Michigan State is setting their sights high for a group that can fill out that playing time. With recruiting for 2017 set to heat up in the near future, look for the Spartans to be spending quite a bit of time in Indiana in attempt to fill their next recruiting class.