Michigan State Basketball: Prioritizing Spartans' List of Recruiting Targets

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIJuly 23, 2013

Michigan State Basketball: Prioritizing Spartans' List of Recruiting Targets

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    Tom Izzo's top priority is to land the best talent available. 

    That's a given. 

    Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Cliff Alexander, 5-star talents who are among the tops at their respective positions, would be the ultimate haul for Izzo, who isn't known for blue-chipping his way through offseason. 

    That being said, he probably has a better chance at getting Alexander, an insanely talented power forward out of Chicago Curie, than he does at landing Jones and Okafor, a package deal that's likely destined for Duke or Kentucky. 

    Should Izzo flop on those three, there are still others with offers who could join the Spartans' 2014 class. And they're not exactly throw-ins, either. 

High Priority: Tyler Ulis

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    Tyler Ulis is a small guard with big potential. 

    At 5'9" and 150 pounds, he's probably closer to the size of teammates' younger brothers than he is to his teammates. 

    However, as the saying goes, dynamite comes in small packages. 

    The 4-star Chicago Marian Catholic senior is the No. 21 point guard in the nation, according to 247Sports.com.

    Having a top-25 athlete at any position should be a goal for a coach such as Izzo, who does wonders with guards. 

    Don't discount Ulis because of his size. The obvious choice would be Tyus Jones, but Ulis is respectable second option. He has great handles and would be an adequate replacement for Keith Appling. 

    Ulis, cousin of former Spartans defensive star Travis Walton, whittled down his finalists, and Michigan State is one of them, according to MLive.com's Diamond Leung

High Priority: Devin Booker

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    Michigan State will need another prolific shooter once sophomore Gary Harris leaves for the NBA, which will probably be after this season. 

    Devin Booker, a 6'6", 194-pound, 4-star shooting guard, may be the solution for the Spartans. 

    Booker, a Mossy Point (Miss.) standout, has outstanding length. He's about two inches taller than Harris. 

    The 2014 recruit reportedly has warm interest in Michigan State, according to his profile on 247Sports.com. Booker is ranked as the No. 6 shooting guard of his class by 247, which predicts that he'll commit to Michigan. 

    The Wolverines—who have a "special place" in his heart—are among his favorites, so Izzo could have a good, old-fashioned recruiting brawl with Michigan while attempting to secure Booker. 

High Priority: Abdul Malik Abu

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    The Spartans are going to need another power forward in the stable. 

    Abdul Malik Abu may be that guy. 

    The 6'8", 232-pounder has a skill set that could take him to the pro ranks. 

    Like Adreian Payne, Abu is a big man with a developing perimeter game. According to Rob Dauster of NBC Sports' College Basketball Talk, Abu went 6-for-10 from long range during a five-game span (Nike EYBL Hampton). 

    Finding another lanky forward with a sweet shot isn't easy. Michigan State may want to ramp up its chase, because Abu said that a handful of other programs—none of which are Michigan State—are recruiting him the hardest.

    As far as priority, Abu fits Michigan State. But when it comes to likelihood, Izzo may be counting on Cliff Alexander to fill that void. 

Still on the Radar

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    Kevon Looney will let his top choices be known by the end of the month, according to UMHoops.com's Joe Stapleton

    The 6'9", 194-pound power forward out of Milwaukee Hamilton has been compared to NBA superstar Kevin Durant. That's high praise. Looney is also considering Duke, Michigan and Florida, among others. 

    He's ranked as the No. 9 overall prospect of the 2014 class by 247Sports. 

    Michigan State has had great luck with Indiana players, so taking a closer look at North Central's (Indianapolis) Perry Poindexter wouldn't be a bad decision for Izzo to make. 

    The 6'7", 190-pounder comes from a basketball-rich area but isn't rated by 247Sports. Poindexter could be a steal for Izzo. Michigan, Xavier, Butler and Tennessee are interested in the power forward, too. 

    When it comes to elite shooting guards, Rashad Vaughn needs to be mentioned. Ranked No. 2 at the position by 247Sports, the Robbinsdale Cooper (Minneapolis) product has offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville, the defending national champion. 

    At 6'5" and 203 pounds, Vaughn is another prototypical 2-guard that would give the Spartans plenty of power. However, he's a package-deal player, and that's always a tough sell.

    Vaughn, according to ZagsBlog, wants to play college ball with point guard Josh Perkins, who hasn't been recruited by Michigan State. 

    Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81