The B1Gâ€™s Premier Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jeff Rabjohns Talks Michigan State & Tom Izzo Targets!
A: Hey Hondo, Iâ€™m here in Milwaukee at the Under Armour event.
Q: Tom Izzo offered Carlton Bragg the Power Forward. Youâ€™ve watched Carlton play. What are your thoughts?
A: Iâ€™ve seen Carlton play probably 10 times or so now. Heâ€™s 6â€™9â€ but heâ€™s really like a small Forward, going out on a wing, hitting threes. In the first two of our evaluation period he went head to head with Chase Jeter, another 6â€™9â€ guy who is a very highly regarded Forward. Carlton was terrific. He got rebounds. He can really handle it. He can put it on the floor. Like I said, shoot at the 3 point range, long arms, an awful lot of back. Heâ€™s a very, very high level prospect. Heâ€™s a guy who is blowing up. A terrific player.
Q: Is Michigan State considered in on him early, even though heâ€™s a 2015 guy?
A: I donâ€™t know if I would say early. Thereâ€™s been some other schools who are really making some pushes. Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana among them. West Virginiaâ€™s been in there. So I donâ€™t know if I would say this is early. Itâ€™s reasonably early in the process. Carltonâ€™s really, really open at this point. He hasnâ€™t really been heavy as far as looking at the recruiting. Heâ€™s mainly just been focusing on his game. So this one is fairly wide open at this point.
Q: Tyler Ulis is a must-get for Michigan State in the 2014 class. He recently went up against Tyus and did very well in that matchup. How is Ulis blowing up?
A: Ulis certainly came in to spring with a solid reputation and itâ€™s only taken a rise. The way he played against Tyus Jones down at the Peach Jam really helped him. I had a chance to talk to some pretty knowledgeable Chicago insiders here in Milwaukee just this morning about Tyler in depth. They really think Michigan State is a pretty clear leader at this point. One of them said he even thought it would be a surprise if Tyler ended up going anywhere other than Michigan State at this point.
Q: So is that kinda where youâ€™re leaning then? Do you think heâ€™s a Michigan State lean?
A: It certainly appears so. I donâ€™t know if I would come out just yet and say that simply because of some others who have really been in on him for a long time. Iowa is certainly among them. I think heâ€™s a very significant target for Iowa. But I would say that I think Michigan State is the team to beat. Iâ€™d be pretty comfortable on that thought. Some Chicago guys who I know who are pretty tied in to a couple of those AAU programs, they think itâ€™s probably gonna end up being Michigan State.
Q: Weâ€™ve talked about Okafor and Tyus; we donâ€™t think theyâ€™re gonna come to Michigan State. They came out in the USA Today saying they still want to remain a package deal. Do you still stick by what you said where you donâ€™t see Michigan State with them?
A: I really donâ€™t. I really think that Duke is the team to beat there. Duke is probably the school that has been recruiting them both extremely hard all this time. Thereâ€™s some other schools that maybe you might say were in on Tyus Jones a little more. Maybe some others have been on Jahlil Okafor more. But Duke certainly has been on them both the hardest, the longest. And I think Duke is the team to beat with both of those guys. I think the player maybe to watch outside of those guys for Michigan State is Cliff Alexander. Michigan Stateâ€™s been recruiting him an awful lot. Heâ€™s a five star player out of Chicago. I had the chance to talk to Cliff for awhile last night after he played his game. Thereâ€™s been so much written and so many different things that Cliff has said recently that I wanted to get a clear answer from him about whatâ€™s going on. He did say he will take official visits to Kansas, Louisville, Arizona and Memphis. And he said heâ€™s deciding between Kentucky and Florida for his final official visit.
He did make a list, came out with a top 10 just recently, but Florida was not in that top 10. I said, Cliff you just made 11 schools in your top 10. Should I list 11? He said, Yeah I guess it probably is 11, isnâ€™t it? And he had a big smile.
He did say that Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois are schools to whom he might take officials again because theyâ€™re nearby and he doesnâ€™t have to travel that far. But itâ€™s just interesting that heâ€™sÂ going toÂ take five official visits to schools that are not Michigan State or Illinois, two schools some people thought were really strongâ€¦especially Michigan State. Iâ€™m not too sure I would call there a chance for a school not on an official visit list when the player took all 5 official visits. Is it possible? Yeah, I guess itâ€™s possible. Tom Izzoâ€™s been here in Milwaukee watching Cliff very, very carefully. So has Billy Donovan from Florida, Bill Self from Kansas, Rick Pitino is here and obviously Sean Miller from Arizona is also here. So I think Michigan State is still in there, but itâ€™s just so hard to tell because sometimes Cliffâ€¦what he says, how he talks about certain schools, has kinda changed over the spring and summer.
Q: Real quick, do you think heâ€™s a Michigan State leaner at all or do you just think heâ€™s wide open?
A: I think itâ€™s reasonable even without a planned official now to stay Michigan State is still among those schools, but I donâ€™t think Baylor or DePaul are really in the picture there.