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Three basketball recruits warming up pens to sign letters today

November 14, 2001

At 11 a.m. today Rochester forward Paul Davis, Detroit Crockett guard Maurice Ager and Arlington (Indianapolis) forward Delco Rowley will sign letters of intent to play for MSU men’s head basketball coach Tom Izzo in 2002.

Recruiting analyst Dave Telep of bluechiphoops.com said Izzo’s new gang of recruits rests in line with some of college basketball’s more storied programs.

“It’s not Duke’s class and it’s not North Carolina’s,” Telep said. “But I think it’s in the top five.”

Davis, who is ranked the No. 6 senior in the country by ESPN.com and Izzo’s first commitment for 2002, headlines the class. At 6-foot-10, Davis averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds per game as a junior.

ESPN men’s college basketball analyst Andy Katz said Davis pushed himself above the high school basketball elite this summer and expects him have an immediate impact for the Spartans.

“I think Paul Davis was clearly the best player in the country in July,” Katz said. “(MSU got) a steal as they got him as early as they did.”

Telep agrees with Katz, and said Davis will change the face of the MSU program.

“Paul Davis is one of the best interior players in the country (as a high schooler),” Telep said. “He brings a new era in Michigan State basketball.”

At 6-foot-4, Ager, ranked No. 16 on ESPN.com, will bring a scoring punch to the Spartan offense. Last year he averaged 23 points for Crockett.

But scoring aside, Telep said Ager has the potential to play Izzo’s style of defense after some of the coach’s tutoring.

“There’s no question he’ll (get playing time),” Telep said.

“He’s a scoring guard who could be a good defender. He’ll definitely play because he can score.”

Rowley - ranked No. 72 by ESPN.com - has been compared to Al Anagonye and, like the Spartan forward, will need time to polish his front-court game.

But Telep said like all of Izzo’s big men, he’ll be expected to grab major boards each night for the Spartans.

“Rowley will chip in and be expected to get on the glass (for rebounds),” he said.

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale acknowledged he hasn’t seen any of these players play, but said Davis, Ager and Rowley form a stellar class for Izzo.

“(These players) fit the puzzle,” Vitale said.

“Getting the big kid (Davis) is positive for coach Izzo. He’s been able to get the players he wants and that adds a lot of positives to the MSU program.”

Despite the youthful rotation the Spartans are now working with - three freshmen and no seniors - Vitale said the MSU coaching staff will provide the lessons the players need to adapt to Big Ten play.

“I know the great teaching that staff provides for players,” Vitale said.

And with Izzo at the helm, Vitale said he saw no stop for the steady flow of recruits into East Lansing.

“That is why Izzo is paid the major bucks now,” he said. “Because he gets the great players.”

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