Let me begin by saying that I’ve never seen Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn play before, beyond his highlight tape. And I have no real measurement of how good he’ll be at Michigan State, beyond his Rivals.com national recruiting ranking of 61 and a few tidbits of analysis from people, a couple of whom I trust. Before two weeks ago, like you probably, I had never heard of this kid.
This was an interesting get for a couple of reasons. First, it somewhat shows where MSU exists in terms of clout. Not a bad place to be. Just not at the top.
Nairn’s visit and offer from MSU came just as another point guard, Tyler Ulis, chose Kentucky over the Spartans two weeks ago. Nairn was less heralded, though far from unheralded. And he jumped at the chance to play for Tom Izzo and MSU. With most kids in the 50-100 range in terms of ranking, my guess is an MSU offer is difficult to turn down. You get into the top 30 and the top 10 and they’re less impressed — every program legitimately on their radar comes with a staggering profile.
This was an important get for two reasons: Most importantly, Nairn appears to be a talented player; and he’s also in the so-far elusive class of 2014. But this wasn’t a must-get position for MSU in that class. The Spartans have Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice and are after three top-30 2015 point guard prospects — Saginaw Arthur Hill’s Eric Davis, and Chicago-area juniors Jalen Brunson and Charles Matthews (who’s more a combo guard).
It’ll be interesting to see how this impacts those recruitments, or if it allows Izzo to start pulling back on Chicago recruiting, as I suggested in a recent column.
I’ve never understood the panic about 2014 (I’ll have a column on this Sunday). I think MSU is going to land at least one big fish. But if not, Nairn is evidence, the next tier is going to be there. And Izzo built most of his program with that tier.