MSU Basketball Looks to Set Standard for Success

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Currently…

Michigan State is now one of 10 programs that have both men’s (No. 6) and women’s (No. 20) ranked in the AP Top 25, as of Feb. 22, 2016.

Women’s (AP) Men’s (AP)
2 Notre Dame T-3 Oklahoma
4 Baylor 6 Michigan State
6 Maryland 10 Maryland
8 Texas 11 Louisville
10 Louisville 12 Miami (Fla.)
11 Texas A&M 16 Kentucky
15 Kentucky 19 Baylor
17 Miami (Fla.) 21 Texas A&M
20 Michigan State 23 Notre Dame
23 Oklahoma 25 Texas

A lot of schools in the Top 25 are just happy to be there, the elite programs are not. The best programs are figuring out how to stay in the Top 25 for the rest of the year and for years to come.

While there is no exact way to guarantee success season after season, there is one thing that helps – recruiting.

The future is bright…

MSU is also one of five programs with Top 20 2016 recruiting classes for both men’s (No. 3) and women’s (No. 12).

Women’s (ESPN HoopGurlz) Men’s (247Sports) Men’s (ESPN Recruiting Nation) Men’s (Scout.com)
3 Texas   3 Michigan State 3 Michigan State 3 Michigan State
4 Florida State 5 Connecticut 7 Connecticut 6 Connecticut
12 Michigan State 9 North Carolina 8 Florida State 7 North Carolina
13 North Carolina 10 Florida State 9 North Carolina 10 Texas
14 Connecticut 11 Texas    15 Texas 11 Florida State

Texas and Michigan State are the only two schools to have both men’s and women’s programs currently ranked in the AP Top 25 and have both teams bringing in Top 20 recruiting classes.

As mentioned earlier, recruiting has become a large part of whether or not a program can remain relevant for consecutive seasons. But there’s only so many five-star players for the over 300 Division 1 basketball programs.

Teams have to be able to find the “diamond in the rough”. The “needle in the haystack”. Because stars and rankings only mean so much.

Today is bright too…

As the end of February approaches, the late-season Wooden Award Player of the Year Top 20 lists have been released and MSU can also be included in this conversation. Michigan State is one of three schools with award finalists on both the men’s and women’s side.

Women’s Men’s
Azurá Stevens, Duke Grayson Allen, Duke  
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland

Brionna Jones, Maryland

Melo Trimble, Maryland
Aerial Powers, Michigan State Denzel Valentine, Michigan State

**Michigan State is the only school to have both men’s and women’s programs currently ranked in the AP Top 25, have both teams bringing in Top 20 recruiting classes and have Wooden Award late-season finalists on both teams.**

Every great team has a great player. The 1996 Chicago Bulls had Michael Jordan. The 1992 Duke Blue Devils had Christian Laettner. The 2012 Baylor Bears had Brittney Griner.

Both MSU men’s and women’s basketball have star players. Stars that can help a team make a run in March.


Aerial Powers, Redshirt Junior

High School: Detroit Country Day, Detroit, MI

Position: Wing

RECRUITING ESPN
Grade (92) 4 stars
Position Rank 16
Overall Rank 99

 

MSU STATS Freshman Sophomore Junior (so far)
Games played 32 31 26
Minutes per game 26.4 35.5 31.7
Points 13.8 21.9 21.8
Rebounds 8.3 12.1 8.8
Assists 2.4 3.5 2.6
Turnovers 3.9 5.0 3.1

Denzel Valentine, Senior

High School: Lansing Sexton, Lansing, MI

Position: Small Forward

RECRUITING 247Sports ESPN Scout
Grade (93) 4 stars (92) 4 stars 3 stars
Position Rank 24 27 27
Overall Rank 105 98

 

MSU STATS Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior (so far)
Games played 36 38 39 24
Minutes per game 20.8 29.4 33.2 32.9
Points 5.0 8.0 14.5 19.6
Rebounds 4.1 6.0 6.3 7.6
Assists 2.4 3.8 4.3 7.3
Turnovers 2.0 1.8 2.4 2.6


What to watch now:

Aerial Powers, fresh off of numerous “Player of the Week” awards, will have to continue her recent pace if she wants a shot at the Wooden Award. On the men’s side, Denzel Valentine, who is having his best season yet at MSU, seems to be one of two main candidates, battling Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield.

It is a special time at MSU.

The women’s team is coming off of an injury-riddled 2014-2015 season and are currently 3rd in the Big Ten and 20th in the country. They are a very dangerous team that can win a 100-point shootout or a defensive battle. And the incoming class with do nothing but help them next year.

The men’s team is looking to prove that March is, in fact, the month of Izzo. They are arguably one of the best teams in the country right now, coming off a 19-point win away from home over a tournament bubble team – Ohio State. Valentine, Forbes, Costello, and Wollenman will be missed next year, but the 2016 recruiting class will even make Izzo smile.
Whether you are a fan of Michigan State or not, the Spartans’ basketball program has the potential to be the benchmark for success in college basketball.

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