Three-Point Play: Michigan State, predictions, Marquette
What a week for Michigan State. Rivals analyst Corey Evans takes a look at the latest happenings in East Lansing in this edition of Three-Point Play. Evans also looks at a few other commitments that are expected in the coming days and a Marquette addition that Evans feels will turn out well for the Golden Eagles.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. Michigan State making a statement
Just last week I received a text from someone connected with the Michigan State program indicating the Emoni Bates announcement would impact others. Little did I think it would mean such a quick decision from Max Christie on Tuesday.
It wasn't a surprise (at least in my mind), that Bates and Christie plan to become Spartans. There is still some things to work out with Bates as far as actually getting him on campus, but if he does stick to his plans there is a decent chance that he shares a playing floor with Christie next fall. Those two, combined with already-committed wing Pierre Brooks, would give Michigan State an impressive three-headed monster of a class - with more to follow.
Who else heads to East Lansing remains up for debate, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that four-star guard Jaden Akins is also in the Spartans’ plans. James Graham remains on their board, but if there is a need in the frontcourt, MSU could look to push top-tier sophomore center Enoch Boakye to reclassify into the 2021 class.
That potential five-man class is definitely attainable, and while there are some hoops that need to be jumped through as far as securing the commitments, roster turnover to properly align and reclassifications, this could go down as Tom Izzo's most talented class.
2. Recent FutureCast predictions
You can never tell the whole story behind a FutureCast selection. Certain pieces of information are best kept between sources and yours truly - but I did want to dish on a few of my latest predictions.
There was a bit of a stir when I placed an Auburn FutureCast for JD Davison, maybe the most explosive guard in his class. Do I believe that a commitment is near? No, but rather it is months down the line. My original prediction was for Memphis, but with the feeling that he won’t end up at the AAC program there has been some scuttlebutt surrounding Bruce Pearl’s Tigers. But don’t count out Alabama, as I see this being more of a neck-and-neck race rather than there being a real leader. That said, also keep an eye on Kansas and LSU, who are also right in the thick of it.
Speaking of Memphis, the Tigers would love to have five-star guard Kennedy Chandler, but momentum continues to swing toward Tennessee. I am not sure a commitment is near, but if things ended today I would actually be surprised if he didn’t pick the Volunteers.
And now ... the good news for Memphis, which we have written about quite frequently lately. LSU was in a great spot with Moussa Cisse just a month ago, but Memphis has flip-flopped spots with Will Wade’s crew for the premier shot blocker. A commitment could be made any day, with the expectations being that Cisse will be manning the center position for Penny Hardaway beginning in the fall.
Going from one former NBA vet to another: Juwan Howard is expected to reel in the commitment of Kobe Bufkin on Thursday. The information I had gathered Sunday evening led me to place my initial FutureCast on Michigan. The four-star then announced that he would be making his college decision Friday. What a week it will be for the Wolverines, kicking it off with Rivals150 forward Will Tschetter and completing it with the smooth-scoring wing that is Bufkin.
3. Jones brings value to Marquette
The news didn’t generate as many headlines as other commitments in recent weeks, but the decision of Kameron Jones shouldn't be swept under the rug. The three-star guard gave his verbal commitment to Marquette last week, and he is just the type of player who will find success under the tutelage of Steve Wojciechowski.
To say that Wojo likes tough, high-level scorers at the guard spot would be like saying that the sky is blue … duh! Sure, Markus Howard is the extreme, and while Jones might not be on Howard's level I have to say that I like what I see with the unheralded guard after scouring over his film the past few days.
I am not sure that Jones is a Rivals150 prospect, but he is definitely worthy of discussion during the next update. It would have been great to see him live this summer, but if that was the case maybe he isn’t committed and the competition for his services is a bit steeper.
Either way, kudos to Marquette for getting things done quickly. Jones is a high-level scorer who can get his shot off with great quickness and accuracy. He reminds me a bit of former Butler standout Kamar Baldwin. Jones might not be as long as Baldwin, but they do possess similar size, a good understanding of the game and, quite frankly, just know how to put the ball through the basket.
Jones will take Koby McEwen’s scholarship after the season, and he becomes Marquette’s first 2021 pick-up. Expect the Big East program to pursue another piece for its backcourt and potentially two others in the frontcourt.