Tom Izzo's list of point guards for 2014 is shrinking. And so is the time he has to land one.
Scratch off Tyler Ulis from the list of potential Michigan State point guards.
The 5'8", 142-pound Chicago Marian Catholic 4-star recently committed to Kentucky.
He's off the board, too. The 6'2", 166-pound Louisville Ballard 4-star prospect pledged to Illinois.
According to 247Sports' board, Spartans coach Tom Izzo extended four scholarship offers to 2014 point guards. With two major targets left, the clock is ticking for Mr. March to make a move for his next ball-handling extraordinaire.
Tyus Jones, a 5-star who everyone wants, remains available. The 6'2", 180-pound St. Paul Apple Valley (Minn.) guard has offers from programs such as Duke, Kansas and Kentucky. Izzo definitely has competition on that front.
Options aren't scarce, but they're not exactly plentiful, either. As national signing day approaches, look for Izzo to ramp up efforts in order to secure the top talent available for his next group of freshmen.
A few months ago, it appeared that Izzo had a decent shot at landing JaQuan Lyle, a 5-star point/shooting guard who recently decommitted from Louisville, which essentially replaced him with Snider.
At 6'5" and 214 pounds, Lyle certainly fits the mold of a prime-time shooting guard. But he also has a set of handles that few possess, making him a worthy candidate to run the point.
On Twitter, Lyle (@JMamba5) explained why he cut ties with the Cardinals:
I wasn't communicating w/ any school or coach while I was committed— JaQuan Lyle (@JMamba5) September 17, 2013
Cliff Alexander is a must-get for Izzo. However, the Chicago Curie star has visits scheduled elsewhere; he's clearly weighing his options. Lyle would like to be teammates with the No. 1-ranked recruit of 2014. If Alexander decides on the Spartans, he could, in theory, bring along Lyle.
Reason I have 4 visits set up already is because I wanna play w/ @humblekid11 and he had had the Kansas, Zona, and Memphis visits set up— JaQuan Lyle (@JMamba5) September 17, 2013
Although Alexander (@humblekid11) wasn't tagged in this post, it's safe to say that the following tweet from Lyle applies to him:
I wanted to join him on the visit, if we plan on playing together.— JaQuan Lyle (@JMamba5) September 17, 2013
Izzo needs another point guard. And he may want to avoid a "project" with Lyle, who'll likely play the 2 in college. The versatility is there. Lyle can play the point. But the question is this: Would he want to do that for Michigan State?
Don't hold your breath for Lyle, but he's not completely out of the mix at the moment.
Lourawls Nairn isn't a household name, but he's far from average.
The 4-star Wichita Sunrise Christian point man has offers from programs such as Memphis, Indiana, Oklahoma and Kansas. He's ranked No. 18 at his position and No. 78 overall.
Nairn recently told SpartanMag.com's Paul Konyndyk (subscription required to view) that he doesn't have a commitment date in mind. The 5'10", 165-pound 2014 graduate's next scheduled visit is at Indiana, but he's not looking past the Spartans.
Michigan State fits me well. I look at the position the same way Coach Izzo does. He wants his point guard to be tough and provide leadership. Those are the two biggest strengths of my game. I am tough and I lead.
Nairn, who had a list of finalists, further elaborated on why he's considering Michigan State:
I let Michigan State in because I felt like it was a great opportunity. I asked myself if I would regret not going to visit the campus of one of the greatest basketball schools of all time. How it happened was unexpected, but I am grateful for the opportunity and I'm glad that took advantage of it.
Nairn's comments should set off an optimistic feeling for Spartans fans. The fact that he looks at point guard the "same way" as Izzo definitely bodes well for Michigan State. Instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole, it seems as if Nairn would be a natural fit.
Wait a few more weeks.
Then extend that period through a few more weeks.
That's probably how long it'll take for Jones to make a decision. Will he team up with Jahlil Okafor, also a Spartans target, and make some lucky college coach's dream come true? Will he tandem with Alexander and do the same?
At this point, it's anyone's guess when, where and to whom Jones will commit. He didn't include the Spartans on his official visit list; he could be as good as gone.
According to his 247Sports profile, Jones is expected to commit to Duke. He'd be the second upper echelon in as many years to choose the Blue Devils over Izzo. Jabari Parker, the next LeBron James, pledged to Coach K's 2013 class. Until the very end, Michigan State was considered a strong favorite.
Anything can happen in the world of recruiting. Commitments, decommitments and indecision—that's what it's all about.
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