Could ATL's Ari Stewart Be MSU Bound?

Michigan State has some decisions to make when it comes to the very deep talent pool in the 2009 recruiting class. GSN has profiled such top prep players as Jamil Wilson, Richard Howell, Donnavan Kirk and others, now we head back to visit with Marietta Wheeler star Ari Stewart who has a busy summer ahead.

ATLANTA - In the words of Yogi Berra, it was 'Deja-Vu all over again' when GSN caught up with Marietta Wheeler star forward Ari Stewart.

Stewart, as was teammate Richard Howell, was still smarting over their loss in the Class AAAAA finals to Al-Farouq Aminu led Norcross.

"We got way behind early, it was like 17-3 and it was a fight (to get back into it) from there," said Stewart last night to

"We were up by two with less than a minute to go, but Al-Farouq hit a three that put them up by one. We (missed) our shot and they got a breakaway to go up by three. We had a chance to set up a three to tie but never got the shot off," said a still disappointed Stewart.

"(Recruiting) is going good, I'm hearing from Oregon, Xavier, Miami, Virginia, Wake Forest, UConn, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina State and schools like that."

What about Michigan State? Has he been hearing from the Spartans at all?

Again, the answer was the same surprising answer that we've been hearing from the most of top players in the class of 2009.

"I've talked to their coaches and their coaches have shown my interest, but right now, I don't know where I stand with them," said Stewart.

Why not, we wanted to know?

"I haven't talked to them in a long time, so I'm not sure where we stand with each other, but I have interest in them," he said.

So when was the last time the Spartans made contact?

"Probably, let's see, during the season, well, right before the season (started)," said Stewart.

Stewart said he heard that was the same thing with Racine Horlick's Jamil Wilson, who according to some published reports, has begun hearing from the MSU staff again following our article with him.

The 6-foot-7 star said he hopes the same thing happens with him because he is interested.

Stewart said he had a relative, an uncle from Saginaw, MI., but now he has moved to the South, so he has no relatives or connections to the state with the exception of former Wheeler standout Chris Allen, now with Michigan State.

He said he hasn't had time to take many unofficial visits and is waiting to see how much interest Michigan State shows him before thinking about making a visit to East Lansing.

However, he did confirm that he has a scholarship offer from Michigan State, one of over 20 that he holds from different schools. He says that it is comforting to know that his parents won't have to pay for his college education.

He said a lot of people remark that his game is similar to Minnesota Gopher Corey Brewer and to a player more recently on the scene, Chris Douglas-Roberts.

Stewart said you can't think of him and Howell as a package deal. "It would nice playing with him in college, but everybody goes their own way. When you get out of high school, some people want to stay close to home, some people want to get away, some people want to play together.

What about him, what does he prefer? "It really doesn't matter to me, it just depends on finding the right school."

He said the last coach he spoke to from Michigan State was Mark Montgomery who actually has been down to Atlanta "quite a few times."

"He told me they want me to come to their school and they offered me a scholarship, but I haven't heard much from them since or even before that last time I saw him."

Next up for this talented wing, he'll head to Washington, D.C. for the USA Basketball u-17 team. And if he is selected?

"I'm (trying out) this summer. You try out in Washington D.C. and if you make the team you fly to Formosa, Argentina (for the tournament)."

He said he's excited about the prospect and so is his family. "It's exciting, they're very positive, I've got a passport and everything, I'm looking forward to it."

Stewart wanted to reiterate that he is still interested in the Spartans. "They've had a great program over the years. Tom Izzo has done a great job there. They've put out some great players into the NBA so that's something I look for in a school. I like Michigan State," he said.

He'd like to see them show him a little bit more love.

He said while he watched the NCAA tournament, he wasn't focusing on MSU, but he did watch them in the regular season and thought about how he could contribute to the squad.

"I thought, I could bring athleticism, I'd be active around the paint and the bucket. I could knock down the open shot. They have great guards, their guards penetrate and kick and I'd knock down the easy shot or I could penetrate and kick it to somebody else."

For now, Stewart will join teammate Richard Howell playing with the Worldwide Renegades on the AAU circuit.

GSN will cover the action when the Renegades make a visit into nearby Ohio in the coming months.


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