Basketball Recruiting Rundown: Class of 2007

The summer hoops season is in full swing as both high school teams, AAU squads, and their players attend tournaments and camps to strut their stuff before fans, scouts and coaches alike. Here is the latest rundown of the top players from the nation's incoming junior class currently on the Michigan State recruiting radar.

The summer hoops season is in full swing as both high school teams, AAU squads, and their players attend tournaments and camps to strut their stuff before fans, scouts and coaches alike. While there is plenty of attention being given to the Class of 2006 (Raymar Morgan, Isaiah Dahlman, Ramar Smith, Deshawn Sims, Tom Herzog); let's instead take a peak at what may become an even more impressive Class of 2007. Here, in no particular order, is the latest rundown of the top players from the nation's incoming junior class currently on the Michigan State recruiting radar.

1. Darquavis Tucker

Swingman – 6-5/180 Arthur Hill HS – Saginaw, MI (AAU: Michigan Hurricanes)

A powerful player in the mold of 2006 Michigan recruits Ramar Smith and Leon Freeman, Darquavis Tucker (pictured) plays the game at another level when he is dialed in. While Tucker still needs to work on his deep shooting touch, he is fearless when attacking the basket. Darquavis also had a decent mid-range game and solid rebounding and defensive skills. A talented wide receiver for Arthur Hill, Tucker brings that toughness and attitude to the basketball court, which makes it no surprise why Tom Izzo's program has made him a top priority.

Tucker has an offer from Michigan State currently on the table and has made it known more than once that they are his top choice heading into his junior season at Arthur Hill.

Tucker's List: Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Syracuse

2. Alex Legion

Swingman – 6-4/180 Detroit Country Day School – Beverly Hills, MI (AAU: Michigan Hurricanes)

Smooth and efficient, Legion is right at the top of the list for a number of teams in 2007. A terrific shooter and finisher, Alex is currently the most polished player among Michigan's talented 2007 class. He and Michigan Hurricane teammate, the aforementioned Darquavis Tucker, have provided plenty of highlight reel plays together on the AAU circuit this season.

Legion has had a busy summer making unofficial visits to Michigan State, Michigan, and UCLA. Fresh off an impressive stay at the ABCD Camp in New Jersey last week; Alex spent the last couple of days in New Jersey with Tucker and the Michigan Hurricanes at the Reebok Summer Classic (the Canes made it to the Final Four of the event Tuesday before bowing out).

Alex is ranked by Scout.com as the top shooting guard in the 2007 class. He has the skills, strength and athleticism to play the 1, 2, and 3 spots in college, but will probably become a swingman at the next level in the mold of a Maurice Ager. It's tough to say for sure where Legion is leaning of late because neither Alex nor his mentor, Tim Green, have done any interviews. He has offers from a number of schools, including Michigan State and Michigan, but still has yet to name a frontrunner. However, rumor has it that if you put your ear to the ground and listen closely, the rhythmic chorus of "Hail to the Victors" can be heard.

Legion's List: Michigan, Michigan State, Duke, Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA.

3. Durrell Summers

Shooting Guard – 6-3/170 St. Martin De porres – Detroit, MI (AAU: The Family)

Summers had a coming out party of sorts at last month's Tom Izzo Spartan Shootout on the MSU campus. In an opening night game against DeWitt, Summers scored 44 points, including 7 rim rattling dunked that eventually caused the rim's internal spring to give way, ending the game prematurely.

It was not surprising to me however, because as I have mentioned on this site previously, I saw Durrell explode for 17 points (in the first 8 minutes) of a AAU game down at the Spiece Run N' Slam in Fort Wayne back in early May. In that game he racked up 4 dunks, two of which came on alley-oop lobs from AAU teammate and Detroit Redford PG Corperrayle Harris.

Scout.com's Dave Telep had this to say recently about Durrell's Nike Camp performance last week, as well as his climb up the Class of 2007 charts:

"If they handed out an award for camper of the day, Summers would get the nod. During a brief stretch he scored 8 straight points and narrowly missed on 10 straight when his acrobatic dunk didn't quite make it over the rim. You name it, he scored it that way. Be it 3-pointers or serious dashes for dunks from the wing, Summers was simply masterful. We've got him at No. 32 in 2007 and that's way too low."

His ball skills are improving all the time, and he hopes to become even more of a scoring threat by working hard on the consistency of his jumper.

"I am working hard on my pull-up (jumper) game," Summers told me recently. "I am also working hard on improving my strength and stamina, as well as my defense."

Durrell has offers from every school on the list below except for North Carolina.

Summers' List: Michigan, Michigan State, Connecticut, North Carolina, Syracuse

4. Kalin Lucas

Point Guard – 6-0/165 St. Mary Preparatory School – Orchard Lake, MI (AAU: The Family)

Kalin has had a big summer. He was voted the top point guard and one of the top five players overall by scouts and coaches at the Nike Hoops Jamboree, and made another impressive showing last week at the Nike All-American Camp in Indianapolis before an injury forced him to the sidelines late in the week.

Kalin, Durrell Summers, and Corperrayle Harris all began the AAU season with The Family's junior squad, but were moved up to the top squad in late-May and all three haven't missed a beat.

Kalin is currently ranked as the 3rd best point guard (behind O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose) and the 21st player overall in the Class of 2007 by Dave Telep, who recently had this to say about Lucas' game:

"He still needs to improve the consistency on his perimeter shot," Telep said, "but he is adept at pulling up from mid-range and also penetrating to the basket and either finishing or dishing off to teammates."

"You hate to put comparisons on kids just finishing their sophomore year of high school," Telep added, "but it's hard not to see some of the same traits in Lucas that have been prevalent with departing Wake Forest floor leader Chris Paul."

Lucas' List: Georgia Tech, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Syracuse

5. Josh Southern

Power Forward – 6-9/230 Saginaw HS – Saginaw, MI (AAU: Michigan Mustangs)

With some of the other high profile players in Michigan's 2007 class, Southern hasn't gotten as much attention as he probably deserves. Nevertheless, the Spartans have had their eye on him for some time, as evidenced by their recent scholarship offer. Last winter, Josh helped the Saginaw High Trojans to the Class A state semi-finals with a powerful low-post game. He is also a tough rebounder and defender who's always trying to work on the little things that make a player of his talent more complete.

Michigan State's recent offer has helped to make the Spartans the early favorite, but with two more prep season's left in Southern's career, he has a long way to go before he has to make his ultimate decision.

Southern's List: Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Valparaiso

6. Chris Allen

Combo Guard – 6-3/175 Meadowcreek HS – Lawrenceville, GA (AAU: Worldwide Renegades)

Allen, until recently, had flown under the radar of many in the world of high school recruiting. However, things are quickly picking up for a young man who averaged 26.5 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds a game last year as a high school sophomore. Allen is coming off a solid showing at the Reebok ABCD camp and will look to make even more strides as the month of July rolls on.

Prep Spotlight magazine President Vince Baldwin, who is one of the few national scouts who has seen Allen up close, had this to say recently about the rising PG from the Peach State.

"He's not quite as explosive as Shannon Brown, but very close. He reminds you in look, and in style of Shannon Brown. He's not as thick in build as Shannon, but he's a little bit longer. I'd be surprised if he didn't end up a McDonald's All-American prospect."

Allen already has early scholarship offers from Clemson, Georgia and Michigan State. Below are the schools in the mix for his signature.

Allen's List: Michigan State, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Miami and Southern Illinois

7. Cole Aldrich

Center – 6-10/230 Jefferson Sr. HS – Bloomington, MN (AAU: Minnesota Magic Platinum)

A big, and big-time, player with an already large reputation; Cole Aldrich is Scout.com's #1 center prospect in the class of 2007. He has offers from a number of schools, including Michigan State, Kansas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Minnesota; however he has recently dropped Wisconsin from consideration; leaving the Spartans, Jayhawks, Tar Heels and home-state Golden Gophers as his final four.

Dave Telep on Cole Aldrich:

"He's got the kind of body Paul Bunyan would show off if he was a basketball player. Strong bodied shoulders that are wide. Will finish strong and is developing an attitude in the paint. You can't body this guy because he won't back down."

Prep Spotlight's Vince Baldwin, had this to say about Aldrich's performance at the NBA Players Association Developmental Camp last month:

"Cole Aldrich may have been the best big man here not named Kevin Love," Baldwin said, "and even that's a draw. If you asked 100 people at the camp – 60 of them will say Love has been the best, and 40 of them will say Aldrich is the best. Flat out, Cole Aldrich is a monster."

This big man from the land of 10,000 Lakes is definitely a player Spartan fans should keep an eye on over the next couple of years.

Aldrich's List: Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina

8. Dallas Lauderdale

Power Forward – 6-8/210 Solon HS – Solon, OH (AAU: Cleveland Titans)

Lauderdale, ranked the #14 power forward in the Scout.com's 2007 class, is a powerful athlete that has good skill in the low post and is a tough rebounder and defender. He was named Northeast Lakes Division I (Ohio) Player of the Year by the Associated Press last season as a sophomore after averaging 17.5 points, 13 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game while leading Solon High to a 25-1 record and a berth in a Division I regional finals. He recently attended Reebok's ABCD camp and will round out the month of July playing with the Cleveland Titans in the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida.

Lauderdale's List: Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse

9. David Fox

Point Guard – 6-2/170 Muskegon Heights HS – Muskegon Heights, MI (AAU: Michigan Hurricanes)

Fox is an extremely talented point guard who combines good size, handles and quickness. David plays for the Muskegon Heights Tigers, who are one of the top five prep programs in Michigan due to their streak of four consecutive state title appearances in the Breslin Center.

David was the sophomore sixth-man on last's year's Heights' squad, which led some to wonder how good he really is. Muskegon Heights' head coach Keith Guy told me recently that it was a simple case of David having upperclassmen playing ahead of him, and that it had nothing to do with his lack of talent.

"I first saw David as a player in the 4th or 5th grade, and even then, you could see his talent and leadership abilities," Guy said. "The most impressive thing about David is how hungry he is, he has been on the varsity squad since his freshman year and now he will have the chance to lead us next season."

I saw David recently leading Muskegon Heights at the Tom Izzo Shootout. I was impressed with his ability to both put the ball on the floor to create his own shot, and his ability to set his teammates up with high percentage looks of their own. Fox's defense was also impressive. In a game against a Wisconsin DTA squad that features highly touted CO 2008 PG Korie Lucious, David played Korie to a virtual standstill.

Fox's List: Central Michigan, Michigan State

10. Austin Thornton

Combo Guard – 6-6/185 Cedar Springs HS – Cedar Springs, MI (AAU: Michigan Hurricanes)

Thornton has the size of a wing, but the ability to play the point. He is a very tough player who does not shy away from competition, contact, or the pressure of playing basketball most important position.

The fact that Austin is also the starting quarterback, and a D-1 gridiron prospect, for Cedar Springs probably has a little to do with the toughness he displays on the hardwood.

If he hopes to play PG at the college level, he will need to improve his lateral quickness as well as improve his strength and agility. Austin's recruitment is still pretty wide open. He has no offers to date, but with a solid junior campaign that won't be an issue a year from now.

Thornton's List: Central Michigan, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Stanford, Ball State

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InsideMichiganState.com will have more updates on these and other players as we strive to be the best and most accurate source for Michigan State basketball information.

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