Michigan State Recruiting Recap - Season 37
Years from now when (simulated) college basketball historians are looking back at the fortunes of the Michigan State Spartans, they will point to the recruiting period of season 37 as a pivotal moment. Perhaps this season's crop of incoming players will be seen as the backbone of something special in East Lansing, but more likely it will be seen as a tragic set of 'What Ifs...' that will have people scratching their heads.
At a time where quality recruits were at a premium in the Midwest, the Spartans had a major challenge in restocking the roster with pieces that fit well. Coach netgymrat was tasked with replacing his first set of four year players as well as attempting to correct for some recruiting mistakes from the past couple of seasons. The coaching staff made the decision to stay local, figuring that the pool of talent was adequate to fit their needs, although unimpressive as a whole. Wing players (SG and SF) were the primary need, with added depth across the roster as a secondary consideration.
Top ranked SG Wayne Butler, hailing from the State of Michigan, was identified early as a target, although initially considering in-state rival Michigan. At the SF spot two players drew focus, David Fletcher from Illinois and Jonathan Burgess from Ohio. The coaching staff was surprised to receive enthusiastic support from Mr. Fletcher and only token resistance from Kentucky on Mr. Burgess. Soon both players were eagerly anticipating the first day of practice. Rounding out the class, two Michiganders were recruited William Keller and Richard Borden as well as an Illinois point guard Robert Williams. Mr. Williams seemed to have a chip on his shoulder at being slighted in the national media by in-state powerhouse Illinios.
After such an easy time with the initial targets, the coaching staff decided that they were interested in bankrolling the leftover recruiting budget for a top-flight player next season. This is where the problems started. The coaching staff had forgotten the WCAA restrictions on class size and extended a scholarship offer to Anthony Loney with the intention of him taking a redshirt year. This made seven offers to high school freshmen.
When siging day arrived Jonathan Burgess was the last to submit his paperwork to the institution and was not allowed to matriculate under WCAA rules. This left the door open for Kentucky to swoop back in and procure his services for a song. The coaching staff turned to transfer PG William Reynolds to fill the final roster spot and preseve the remaining funds to rollover.
This blunder will likely haunt the program for seasons to come. Loney will struggle to earn minutes, even after a redshirt season and Burgess was anticipated to start from day 1. David Fletcher and Robert Williams seem maxed out in their abilities and will likely get passed by for minutes and starts by future recruits.