Borderline recruits could sway with Bridges return
With reports of MSU star forward Miles Bridges returning for his sophomore season, head coach Tom Izzo still has more talent he can acquire for the 2017-18 season.
Regardless, if more recruits besides Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman select MSU for next season, there are four more potential Spartans considering their collegiate decisions.
The decision from Bridges could have huge implications on each recruits’ selection.
- SF Brian "Tugs" Bowen | 6-foot-7, 194 pounds | La Lumiere High School | Five stars
Bowen is an athletic wing who can play above the rim and stretch the floor. He lacks shot creating ability, but if paired with a play-maker like guard Cassius Winston, the duo could create a lot of momentum plays. Not as dazzling as Bridges, but still impressive.
He led La Lumiere to the Dick’s National Championship alongside teammate Jackson, and led the team in scoring this season.
On Twitter, the noise surrounding Bridges clearly piqued his interest, however Bridges is who he would play behind.
The talent at MSU would leave Bowen as the sixth or seventh guy off the bench, rather than the starting five. More recent noise surrounding his decision has him selecting Arizona University over MSU.
Percent chance he selects MSU: 35 percent
If Bridges returns: 25 percent
2. C Brandon McCoy | 6-foot-11, 244 pounds | Cathedral Catholic High School | Five stars
McCoy named MSU as one of his five finalists, however Oregon appears to be in the lead. He has long arms, soft hands and is an overall good athlete. His inside game is at the top of the class and if McCoy were to select MSU, he would most likely start ahead of Jackson.
It appears Bridges has tried to help recruit the big man to East Lansing, and Bridges might help McCoy pick MSU.
Since the two play separate positions, it is more likely McCoy would join forces with Bridges to create a super-team, rather than leave to find more playing time.
Percent chance he selects MSU: 20 percent
If Bridges returns: 25 percent
3. PG Mark Smith | 6-foot-5, 225 pounds | Edwardsville High School | Four stars
Mark Smith has come on late as a name for MSU, but he looks promising to make the trip from Southern Illinois to Mid-Michigan.
Smith was heavily recruited to smaller schools like Northern Illinois and Drake, but the Big Ten has latched onto his senior season success. His size as a guard creates match-up issues and he has solid range with good offensive awareness.
Smith took his visit to MSU on April 7, so the Green and White is fresh on his mind. He would come off the bench, however could fill in for either guard spot.
Originally Smith was committed to play baseball at Missouri, but decided basketball is his future.
Percent chance he selects MSU: 70 percent
If Bridges returns: 75 percent
4. C Jeremiah Tilmon | 6-foot-10, 215 pounds | East St. Louis High School | Four stars
Tilmon is a recent de-commit from Illinois who has seen many twists and turns in the past year. In high school he left East St. Louis High School to join La Lumiere, but later returned to East St. Louis. After signing his National Letter of Intent to Illinois, Fighting Illini head coach John Groce was fired and Brad Underwood took over as the new head coach.
Almost two weeks after meeting with Underwood, Tilmon expressed desire to leave the Big Ten school and was granted a release from his letter of intent.
MSU is on his list of considering, however he hasn’t received much uproar because of his indecisiveness He does have connections to Missouri, whose new head coach Cuonzo Martin grew up in East St. Louis and has been recruiting Tilmon since he began high school.
Missouri is also the destination for the No. 1 recruit in the ESPN Top 100, Michael Porter Jr. Tilmon has broad shoulders with a strong frame. He is highly athletic with a great ability to run the floor.
Percent chance he selects MSU: 5 percent
If Bridges returns: 5 percent
MSU is allowed 13 total basketball scholarships and eight are already secured, excluding Ben Carter and Bridges.
Currently it looks like Carter will not receive a sixth year, so if Bridges comes back, there would be four open spots. In a scenario where Carter returns as well, Kenny Goins can go off athletic scholarship if needed. Therefore anyway it's sliced, MSU is full go for three or four more recruits, if that’s how the cards play out.
Each player will evaluate a return of Bridges differently. Players not in competition with Bridges for minutes might want to join him because it will create an even better Spartan team. However for Bowen, the narrative lays with whether he wants to get more playing time and exposure, or does he want to compete for a National Championship, knowing he will most likely turn professional after one season.
For each scenario, only time will tell.