It’s not an exact, heads-up comparison—Michigan State has three incoming scholarship players and Michigan has five—but gauging the Spartans’ and Wolverines’ 2014 classes will give us a better idea of what to expect from the two Big Ten heavies this season.
On paper, five trumps three. More is almost always better. However, given coaching styles, team needs and potential, Michigan’s new guys, as a whole, are pretty even with Michigan State’s arrivals.
With 247Sports as the guide, this piece will examine recruits heading to Ann Arbor and to East Lansing.
See Michigan State's class here.
See Michigan's class here.
Changing of the Guards
Spartans fans love their point guards. By the sound of it, Lourawls "Tum-Tum" Nairn is more than ready to embrace that role in the near future. In all likelihood, the 5’10”, 165-pound frosh will serve as relief for Travis Trice, a will-be senior, and for Denzel Valentine, who’ll probably play a little more at the 1 this season as a junior.
Beilein didn’t snag a point guard for 2014—he didn’t have to. He has Derrick Walton. And Nairn was the only guard that Izzo signed, so we’re going to loosely compare two guys to one for a quick second: Nairn is considered as an ideal Izzo 1. Fine shooting guards in their own right, neither Aubrey Dawkins or Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman are considered as program-altering prospects for Beilein.
So, as far as quality of position is concerned—again, just the broad “guard” category—Michigan State appears to have the advantage with its 4-star Tum-Tum, who tops the Wolverines’ 3- and 2-star pulls.
Of course, circumstances will come into play and decide which one of these three freshmen do the most damage in 2014. Nairn will see the court. The Spartans are losing Gary Harris, a star shooting guard, and Keith Appling, the former point man.
Michigan is losing Nik Stauskas, and the Wolverines could use some size at the wings. That being said, Beilein’s done a wonderful job of grooming talent, so he may choose to sit Dawkins and/or Abdur-Rahkman this season.
|Tum-Tum||No. 21 PG||5'10"/165|
|Dawkins||No. 75 SG||6'4"/180|
|Abdur-Rahkman||No. 83 SG||6'4"/180|
|MSU has No. 7 class in the Big Ten (No. 47 overall). Michigan has the No. 3 class in the B1G (No. 33 overall).|
Let’s Be Forward
Javon Bess isn’t a blue-chipper. As a matter of fact, with exception to recruiting enthusiasts, not many people are aware of the Ohioan bound for Izzo Land. At 6’5” and 185 pounds, he enters East Lansing with a 3-star ranking.
And he’s in need of about 20 pounds. Maybe the old Freshman 15 will become the Freshman 20 once the NCAA’s free food policy goes into effect Aug. 1.
Michigan State also welcomes Marvin Clark, a modestly rated power forward who played with Nairn at Sunrise Christian in Wichita, Ks. At 6’7” and 225 pounds, he’s definitely on his way to becoming a solid force in the front court.
Now, in Ann Arbor, there’s something going on with Michigan’s 2014 forwards: They’re pretty good, and they have a slight advantage—at least on paper—over Izzo’s haul of Bess and Clark.
|Bess||No. 34 SF||6'5"/185|
|Clark||No. 57 PF||6'7"/225|
|Chatman||No. 6 SF||6'6"/197|
|Wilson||No. 40 PF||6'8"/200|
|Ricky Doyle||No. 52 PF||6'9"/235|
Kameron Chatman is a dynamic, program-esque small forward who can score in multiple ways. D.J. Wilson is a 4 who can run the court and plays well around the rim—you know, the stuff good power forwards do.
Of course, we won't really see until tipoff 2014. And even then, we won't get a full view of this class until later in the year, or as late as next year (depending on redshirts).
Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81