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Davis, Ager, Rowley sign letters, continue Izzos recruiting flow

November 15, 2001

The ink has dried and the letters are sealed.

MSU men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo can now call Rochester forward Paul Davis, Detroit Crockett guard Maurice Ager and Arlington (Indianapolis) forward Delco Rowley Spartans.

Izzo announced the signings of the three players at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday at Breslin Center.

“I have a theory that better players make you a better coach, so recruiting is a big part of the game,” Izzo said. “And we are happy to announce that we have all three of our prized recruits: Maurice Ager, Paul Davis and Delco Rowley.

“I think all three of them are going to bring something to the table that will really help this team next year.”

Davis is Izzo’s earliest commitment and is the cornerstone of the 2002 class. Over the summer, Davis, who is ranked the nation’s top power forward by ESPN.com, upped his stock with a number of great outings in summer camps. His most notable play was at the Adidas/Big Time Tournament where he earned All-Tournament team honors.

“Paul Davis, he’s the kid that maybe ballooned up the most this summer as far as how he played compared to how he played last year,” Izzo said. “He had a great couple of camps. I think he too will be a big man who can score inside and will step outside and still has some athletic ability. I think his big question mark will be his strength and his toughness.”

With a multidimensional game, Davis is drawing comparisons to ex-Indiana center and current Charlotte Hornets rookie Kirk Haston.

“Davis is maybe more of a Kirk Haston-type because he’s fairly athletic, probably not as good with the ball yet,” Izzo said. “And yet I think he can be better in the post than Kirk was, but he does have those kind of skills. He can step out to three and shoot the ball.”

Ager joins the Spartans as Izzo’s first recruit from the Detroit Public School League. Izzo said Ager is a good fit for MSU because Crockett head basketball coach Robert Murphy has a similar coaching style to the Spartan chief.

“I’m definitely excited (about getting Ager),” Izzo said. “I think coaches down (in the PSL) have been very receptive to us. I think you get a player out of there that can really be a star that makes a big difference too. And Maurice, he’s a guy that I think has been very well coached.”

Not only is Izzo excited about Ager, but Mattie Ager, Maurice’s mother, said she is excited her son decided to play for the green and white.

“He felt really good about his decision (today),” she said. “I’m happy he chose MSU.”

Like Davis, Ager is drawing comparisons to ex-college standouts and current NBA players. Izzo said Ager fits the model of Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Ray Allen and is excited to have his ability to score from long-range and explode to the hoop when needed.

“I think with Ager we need to get more athletic again, and I think he brings that to the table,” Izzo said.

“This kid is not Ray Allen, but he’s a Ray Allen-type player. I mean he’s got very good skills, shoots the ball, but is a very good athlete. And he shoots the ball from range, long range.”

Rowley hasn’t passed his SAT yet, but Izzo is optimistic about the forward reaching campus without any bumps along the way.

At 6-foot-8, Izzo said Rowley has the ability to score from 15 feet, and his stature is the standard for Big Ten forwards.

“He brings some real strength to the table,” Izzo said. “Which in our league I think he’s a prototype Big Ten power forward and one that will help us immediately because of size and strength.”

Izzo said all three recruits will make an immediate impact next season. But throughout their high school seasons and the time spent on campus next fall will serve as time to prepare for Big Ten play.

“All three guys are to bring a lot to the table and yet all three have deficiencies that they’ll continue to work on this year and I think they are going to be exciting for our future,” Izzo said.

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