Michigan State Basketball: Report Card for Tom Izzo on 2013 Recruiting Trail
Perhaps Tom Izzo waited too long and put the integrity of the 2013 recruiting class in the hands of Jabari Parker.
Perhaps Tom Izzo was so sure that he would land Rivals.com's No. 2-ranked prospect that padding the class with other solid recruits was an afterthought.
After all, getting Parker would be the ultimate score. Others in the same group would have essentially been no-name throw-ins to round out a roster.
Parker chose Duke after being considered a heavy Michigan State-lean. After that, it was case closed—no more recruiting news came out of East Lansing. Nothing that compared even remotely to news of Parker, that is.
At this point, Izzo doesn't have one 2013 commit. For some, that'd be cause to worry, but Izzo has proven in the past that he can pull rabbits out of a hat when needed. Remember, Gary Harris was the latest addition to the 2012 class, nearly a year later than Matt Costello, Kenny Kaminski and Denzel Valentine.
Using SpartanMag.com, VerbalCommits.com and 247Sports.com as go-to sources, we'll examine the timeliness of Izzo's recruiting and grade him accordingly for this year's upcoming class.
He'll have to pull a few strings, which, at this point, seem to be connected to a trio of modestly rated prospects: Jerron Martin, Thomas Hamilton and Gavin Schilling, according to VerbalCommits.
It's not all doom and gloom for Izzo and Michigan State; the lack of 2013 prospects could be a forecast of heavier classes in 2014 and 2015.
PG Jerron Martin
Jerron Martin is a 6'1", 165-pound senior out of Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)
According to Rivals.com, he has interest from six other programs, but Loyola (Md.) has extended the only offer. Rivals.com hasn't slapped him with a rating, but VerbalCommits lists Martin as a 2-star prospect.
Michigan State is by far the most well-known basketball program to show a glimmer of interest in Martin, who would join guards Travis Trice, Denzel Valentine and Keith Appling.
The Spartans need a point guard that can shoot the ball with consistent success. The obvious job is to facilitate the offense, but it wouldn't hurt to get a guy the Spartans can rely upon to contribute offensively.
Martin is a 2-star rated player for a reason: He doesn't have jaw-dropping skills. But within the right system, he could develop into something like Korie Lucious or Kalin Lucas, a pair of former Spartans guards who really grew into their roles under coach Tom Izzo.
Appling will be a senior in 2013-14. Trice and Valentine are the next ones up, and it's highly unlikely that Martin would see meaningful minutes. If anything, he could redshirt and be ready for backup duties once Trice becomes a senior in 2014-15, the same year Valentine will be a junior.
Taking a chance on Martin would be a bit risky for Izzo. He'd likely have a better shot at landing a higher-profile talent in 2014 or 2015.
Appling is serviceable but inconsistent (especially lately). Trice and Valentine are developing.
Izzo would get a "D" for signing Martin, with no disrespect to Martin. As mentioned above, he's a 2-star for a reason, and Izzo can easily get a 3- or 4-star talent in the next class.
PF Gavin Schilling
Gavin Schilling is a 6'9", 235-pound power forward out of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.).
With Derrick Nix leaving after this season, the Spartans could use another big-bodied force in the paint to accompany Adreian Payne, a junior who'll likely stay put for his senior year at Michigan State.
Schlling is a 3-star rated prospect by Rivals.com and VerbalCommits.com. Again, nothing dazzling, but the size is the key here; he has the frame, he just needs to pack on a few pounds.
Schilling has offers from Illinois, Villanova, UCLA and Michigan State, among others. He's similar in size to Kenny Kaminski, who is sidelined this year due to injury.
With above-average athleticism for a kid his size, Schilling is more of a diamond in the rough than a shot in the dark. He's a great rebounder with good touch around the basket (as you'll see in the accompanying video) who runs the floor well.
There is a need for Schilling in East Lansing, and Izzo would get a "B" if he landed the young giant.
C Thomas Hamilton
Thomas Hamilton, according to the YouTube video, was the "most talked about freshman" in the Chicago Public League since Derrick Rose.
That's considerable praise.
His game, though, is nothing like Rose's, but it's similar to another Derrick's: Derrick Nix, Michigan State's pudgy center.
Hamilton has great touch around the rim and the weight to literally clear the lane free of opponents. At 6'9" and 240 pounds, he could stand to gain weight by adding muscle. He's not "soft" in the sense of being weak, just "soft" in the sense of being cushion-like.
Don't let his "doughboy" (obvious Nix reference) exterior fool you; he's light on his feet and strong to boot.
Hamilton, now at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. according to Rivals.com, touts a 3-star rating. He's not as explosive as Schilling, but he would bring a raw toughness to the fold, something like former Spartans star Antonio Smith.
Recruiting a big man from a city league has done wonders for Izzo in the past. Schilling once played in Chicago before transferring to Findlay Prep in Nevada. Matt Costello, although not from a city school, played in the Saginaw Valley League against Saginaw High, Arthur Hill, Flint Northern and Flint Southwestern. Needless to say, those schools have bred standout athletes, some of which have found their way to East Lansing.
Hamilton would be a solid get for Izzo, who would receive a "B" if Hamilton signs with Michigan State.
Overall Look at Izzo's 2013 Progress
It has to be a comforting feeling knowing that Michigan State's basketball program won't fall to the ground based on one year of lackluster recruiting.
Tom Izzo has a legendary reputation of getting more from less, so in the event he signs Gavin Schilling, Jerron Martin or Thomas Hamilton, allow Izzo time to mold one or more into a suitable Big Ten player.
Matt Costello has come around lately. He was discarded by some because he's not what some fans wanted, a suburban kid that lacked the attitude and toughness that city players are renowned for.
And again, Izzo has signed players in late stages of the process. Branden Dawson was the third of four players to join Michigan State's 2011 class. Gary Harris waited considerably longer than others who signed with the 2012 class.
Of course, each of those players were light-years earlier in making their decisions than any of the three potential 2013 targets.
As of now, Izzo has to have an overall grade of "D," based purely on the fact that he doesn't have one kid's pledge. But that's not to say that the 2013 class will be a total failure, it's just developing with the speed of a snail.
Don't expect him to let three scholarships go unused, but expect Izzo to ramp up efforts when pursuing future targets like Jahlil Okafor, JaQuan Lyle, Trey Lyles and Cliff Alexander, just to name a few.
View VerbalCommits.com's Spartans target chart here
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81