Spartan basketball roundup

With four months until the season gets under way, the Spartans are still making news. Chris Hill and Paul Davis earned preseason accolades this week, coach Tom Izzo returned from the Pan-Am Games in the Dominican Republic, and several recruits are still being targeted for the 2004 season.

MSU sophomore Paul Davis and junior Chris Hill were named to the Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team on Thursday. The two join 50 other candidates, who were selected based on last year's individual performances and team records.

Hill was the Spartans leading scorer last year, averaging 13.7 points per game. The 6-foot-3 guard earned second-team All-Big Ten honors and connected on 95-of-235 three-point field goals. Hill was also selected to the 12-man squad that participated in the Pan-Am games this summer.

The 6-foot-10 Davis enjoyed a fine freshman season scoring 7.8 points per game and racking up 4.7 rebounds per game. Davis shined in the NCAA tournament as well, earning All-South Regional honors by scoring 11.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Davis also represented USA Basketball, where he joined teammate Mauric Ager on the Junior World Championship Team in Greece. The team finished with a 7-1 record.

Pan-Am Team fall in bronze-medal game

Tom Izzo and the Team USA men's Pan-American basketball team fell to Puerto Rico 76-70, ending the tournament with a 2-3 record.

Against Puerto Rico, USA found themselves down by 16 late in the fourth quarter. Despite a valiant effort, the deficit proved to be too much. Though the team did not bring home a medal, Izzo said it was a good experience for the whole team.

"It has been a great learning experience for me as a coach," Izzo said in a statement on "I don't think I've ever worked with a better bunch of guys in a tougher situation. They represented their country in a classy fashion and I am proud of them.

Two down, two to go

The Spartans have already locked up senior point guard Drew Neitzel and senior forward Marquise Gray for the 2004 class and know their recruiting intensity will begin to pick up as fall approaches.

Among the top targets are: Detroit guard Malik Hairston, Florida center Alexander "Sasha" Kaun, Illinois forward Shaun Pruitt and local superstar -- Grand Ledge forward Al Horford.

The National Signing Day will be held in November. That will be the first time, coaches can comment on recruits.

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