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Formidable group of cagers recruits sign to play for U

November 9, 2000

Recent success may not just be one shining moment for Spartan basketball.

It might be the beginning of a dynasty.

With three Big Ten championships in the bank, two Final Four berths in its memories, and a national championship trophy in the display case, the MSU men’s basketball coaching staff has proven it’s committed to building a legacy.

Wednesday, three recruits signed National Letters of Intent to be eligible for next season.

Flint guard Kelvin Torbert, one of the highest ranked and hardest recruited athletes in the nation, Minneapolis guard/forward Alan Anderson and Indianapolis’ shooting guard Chris Hill all signed for the 2001-2002 year.

And head coach Tom Izzo is certainly pleased.

“We added talent, athletic ability, offensive skills and defensive skills to this class,” Izzo said. “I think when you put these three recruits with the players we have coming back and the big men that we have in this program, it’s a perfect fit.”

Torbert said he wasn’t going to make a decision until the spring, but announced two weeks ago that he would join Anderson and Hill, making MSU the No. 3 class on many recruiting analysts’ lists.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 200-pound standout may be the best player to ever come out of Flint, including recent heroes Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Antonio Smith and senior guard Charlie Bell, Izzo said.

“It’s not often there are great athletes who are also great basketball players, but Kelvin is one of those special players,” Izzo said. “We also look for him to carry on the Charlie Bell tradition of being a great rebounding guard, while he also has the ability to be a tremendous long-range shooter.”

Anderson, who ranks in the top 20 on some recruiting analysts’ lists, should also show up big for the Spartans next year, Izzo said. Anderson averaged 21.5 points last year to lead De La Salle High School to a 24-5 season.

“He has very good offensive skills, but his strength is the ability to defend, which makes him a great catch in my mind,” Izzo said.

Hill, a 6-foot-3-inch, 175-pounder, helped get Lawrence North High School to a No. 6 spot in Indiana last year by averaging 17 points and four assists per game. He also boasts a 3.9 grade-point average.

“Chris Hill can play the combo-guard position, meaning he has the ability to play some point guard and shooting guard,” Izzo said. “I think he could be one of the best pure shooters we’ve had in our program since guys like Shawn Respert.”

With a nationally renowned coach, it seems Izzo would be the key to bringing stars to MSU, but Izzo said his thanks go to assistant coach Stan Heath.

“Stan Heath did a great job over a three-year period in the recruitment of Kelvin Torbert,” he said. “Head coaches get a lot of credit, but this is truly an example of an assistant coach doing not a good job, but a great job of landing a prized recruit.”

Heath said scouting recruits is something he just loves to do.

“We do a lot of the legwork,” he said. “But we’re just excited about every year of recruiting. Every year is a challenge.”

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