DETROIT - Michigan State's basketball staff just keeps rolling in the recruiting wars.
The Spartans staff is coming off a brilliant 2008 recruiting class, maybe one of their best ever, nabbing seniors Draymond Green of State Champion Saginaw, Milwaukee St. Pius star point guard Korie Lucious and top-25 recruit Delvon Roe of Cleveland St. Edwards.
So what do they do for an encore? They continue building on what they have, by adding depth, size and strength.
The Spartans did that in a big way when over the course of a few weeks, they landed verbal commitments from Ohio big man Garrick Sherman, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound three-star forward/center prospect who averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks per game. They then added a rising physical inside presence in Derrick Nix, a 6-foot-9, 275-pound power forward from state runner up Detroit Pershing.
MSU is likely to only take one more player in the 2009 class, but could squeeze out two, so they can afford to be choosy at this point. The question is who will they choose? The Spartans coaching staff are making the rounds on the AAU circuit and are looking to uncover new talent.
One player they've been in on for a quite a while is Worldwide Rengades and Marietta Wheeler swingman Richard Howell. When we spoke to Howell on April 6th, he confirmed that he has an offer in hand from the Spartans and they they had been in contact with him a few days earlier.
Howell said he was unaware that MSU had received verbal commitments from Sherman and Nix but despite that he was still interested in becoming a Spartan. But, said Howell, "I haven't heard from them in a long time."
When we asked how he was keeping up on the Spartans, he confirmed that longtime friend and former Wheeler teammate Chris Allen was keeping him up to date on what was happening in East Lansing, but that he hadn't heard from primary recruiter, assistant Mark Montgomery since his last call in April.
"I've been talking to Chris, but I haven't really talked to anyone else up there," said Howell.
When asked if he thought the Spartans were still interested, Howell said "I have no clue. They usually call me or my dad," he said. But he added he didn't know if perhaps one of the coaches had called his dad recently and perhaps he just hadn't gotten the message.
The lull in phone calls isn't surprising. We've noted a pattern where MSU shows interests and then get back around to a recruit about a month later.
The same thing happened to Racine Horlick swingman Jamil Wilson who reported he hadn't received a call from MSU during our interview with him in April, only to get a call about two days later to ensure him they still liked him very much.
Howell was upbeat and unphased by the lack of calls and could still project himself into the Spartans lineup.
"I can see myself as like a three-man or a wing so I would fit in with (the players already in the class)." said Howell who also said he is familar with Derrick Nix, but not Sherman.
Howell has been a very productive player on the AAU circuit for the Worldwide Renegade squad. He has been expanding his shooting range out to 18 feet and has worked hard at improving his upper body strength in a bid to be a more tenacious rebounder.
"It's going real good actually, we've been winning a lot of game, but we just fell short in the last tournament we went to, in Akron at the King James (Shooting Stars classic).
Howell said the Black squad for WWR faced off against Nix and the Family, however he and Wheeler teammate Ari Stewart play for the Orange squad.
He added that while he can see himself as a Spartan, he hasn't made any decision and will still go through the process
"I haven't really, (decided). I thought about going there, I haven't really made my mind up yet. I like them, but I can't say that's definitely where I want to go just yet."
Check into the GoSpartans.net premium message board to get our take on where Howell likely fits as the Spartans wind up their 2009 class.
Who's Next? Richard Howell Update
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