Notebook: Spartan Uprising

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm.

Michigan State back on track

During one horrendous week spanning late October/early November, 2013, Michigan State missed out on their four top targets in the 2014 class, and it marked the second disappointing recruiting cycle in a row for the Spartans.

However, only 11 months later things seem to be back to normal in East Lansing.

The Spartans got things going in a good way in the 2015 class, landing Deyonta Davis (pictured above). Davis is a high four-star prospect with elite potential, and then they scored with a highly sought after transfer in Eron Harris, who will be ready to play in 2015 as well.

Knowing they needed more scoring potential on the wing, the Spartans were then able to get Matt McQuaid and Kyle Ahrens, two excellent shooters. Now if the Spartans can find a way to reel in Henry Ellenson (unlikely) or land Caleb Swanigan, things will really be going well.

While Ellenson or Swanigan would be icing on the cake, Michigan State also sits well in 2016. They have long been considered the team to beat for in-state point guard Cassius Winston and at worst appear to be co-leaders for four-star post players in the Midwest like Joey Brunk and Nick Ward. Also, the Spartans are considered an early favorite to land Miles Bridges, another high four-star prospect in the 2016 class.

Overall, things appear to be back on track in East Lansing after a few down years on the recruiting trail.

— Brian Snow

Robinson sets date

Top 100 player Justin Robinson is gearing up to make his college decision.

The Saint James (Md.) School standout has narrowed his list of schools to Maryland, Providence, UNLV and Virginia Tech.

Robinson is a classic coach's point guard

Robinson has already taken official visits to Maryland, Providence and Virginia Tech. He will close out his official visits this weekend with a trip to UNLV.

Robinson told on Monday that he is planning to make his college choice on October 12th.

A true lead guard, Robinson has very good feel for the game. He understands the point guard position and how to run a team. He has good ball skills, is a talented passer and is also a capable shot maker.

Robinson is ranked No. 11 at the point guard position and No. 87 overall in the 2015 class.

— Evan Daniels

West Coast loaded with posts in 2017

West Coast schools needing post help are in luck, because the 2017 class in the region is flat out loaded.

Starting with San Diego Balboa Prep center DeAndre Ayton,'s No. 1 prospect in the class, there is a good list of prospects on track to being high major players.

Ayton impressed mightily versus North Carolina and Ohio State in summer exhibition games

Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon has two of them in power forwards Cody Riley and Ira Lee, while Redondo (Calif.) Union has another four man in Billy Preston, all of whom already have numerous high major offers.

There are two centers moving in a terrific direction in Corona (Calif.) Centennial's Jalen Hill and San Diego Morse's Brandon McCoy. Both will be high major priorities.

Keep an eye on Anaheim (Calif.) Servite's Jacob Hughes, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly's Myles Johnson and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Miles Brookins, three more up and coming center prospects who all have a shot to be high major guys.

— Josh Gershon

Smith brings the boys to the yard

Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian hosted a "college day" on Monday that featured elite junior point guard Dennis Smith, among others, working out to a throng of college coaches.

Notables in attendance included Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Mark Gottfried and Danny Manning, while Kansas and others also had representatives in attendance for the nation's No. 7 overall junior and second-ranked floor general.

Based on size, skill and athleticism, Smith may be the best long-term floor general in the class

Smith's recruitment may not be the slam dunk for Tobacco Road schools that you may assume, however. While, ultimately, many expect fellow elite Harry Giles (who also hails from N.C. and ranks No. 2 overall) to remain within the state, Smith's recruitment is just as expansive and perhaps more open.

The key distinction can be observed by the behaviors of the participants. North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest all are working feverishly on Giles and essentially holding open a place, but none of the three has done so to the same extent at this point with Smith.

The Blue Devils have become very active with another junior point guard, Derryck Thornton, while the Tar Heels have invested significant time into combo guard Seventh Woods. While a Smith/Thornton or Smith/Woods backcourt may not be an impossibility, at the minimum it's reasonable to suggest it's unlikely.

Thus, Smith — who in the past has said he grew up a Wolfpack fan — is one among a select handful of point guard offers for the in-state programs, while Giles presently occupies a more exclusively allotted space.

Whether any of that makes a difference remains to be seen — and clearly, the presence of three top-10 point guards (Georgia's Kobi Simmons plus Smith and Thornton) is a major contributing factor— but for now it's evident that No. 2 and No. 7 are following different trajectories.

— Rob Harrington

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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