MSU’s Merchant active in recruiting high school players

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Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant (Photo: Ian Gilmour / WDBM)

Charlotte Steinberg, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING — Michigan State women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant has received commitment from some high school recruits as of late, providing reinforcement and excitement for the future. Class of 2021 center Isaline Alexander committed to Michigan State on Monday via her mother’s Twitter. Guard Abbey Kimball also committed on Friday via Twitter, joining guard Theryn Hallock for the class of 2022. 

Kimball, from West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, was highly recruited in the Big Ten, also receiving offers from Northwestern, Michigan, and Iowa. She averaged 16 points per game as a freshman and 20.9 points per game as a sophomore.   

The 5-foot-10 guard led the Falcons to a 23-1 record including the OK Blue Conference championship and their first district championship in 25 years. The accolades did not stop there for Kimball, however. She earned Michigan Association Press All-State First-Team honors and was a part of the Grand Rapids Dream Team’s first team. Kimball shot 42% from the floor, a record 93% from the free-throw line and 39% from behind the arc. The Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan announced that the top free-throw shooter award went to Kimball.

Kimball now joins Hallock of Forest Hills Central as some of the only sophomores to commit to Michigan State. Both Hallock and Kimball played against each other in AAU basketball and high school, so there could already be some chemistry building. 

Hallock, also from Grand Rapids, committed to Michigan State in 2019 as a freshman. Her father Ty was a football player at MSU and now her brothers Tate and Tanner play for new coach Mel Tucker. As a freshman, Hallock averaged 13 points, 3.7 steals, and 2.7 rebounds.  

Alexander, a Candian native, committed to Michigan State via her mother’s Twitter. Michigan State is no stranger to recruiting Canadians who want to play college basketball; just ask former player Shay Colley. Alexander is a 6-foot-2 center from Keswick, Ontario. In the 2019 FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship, Alexander averaged 7.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.  

 

By adding some depth to the lineup for the next couple of years, Merchant has some comfort in thinking the Spartans can be successful in the Big Ten and further through the season in March. Michigan State retains starters Nia Clouden, Moira Joiner, and Tory Ozment. By adding Penn State transfers Jayla James and Alisia Smith, recruits Kendall Bostic and Matilda Ekh, as well as Alexander for next season followed by Hallock and Kimball in 2022, there is nothing but hope for the Spartans to succeed better than last season’s 16-14 team.

Merchant and her staff have gone through the state of Michigan, the transfer portal, Canada and even Sweden to find their rising stars. By acting quickly on underclassmen, and them already having the chance to visit Michigan State before the COVID-19 pandemic, gives the Spartans a great recruiting advantage. 

As Merchant said in a recent interview, “we got more coming.” She has proven once again that Michigan State is on the rise.

Charlotte Steinberg is a beat reporter for Impact 89FM WDBM who primarily covers women’s basketball. Follow her on Twitter at @sportstalksbycs.