Tom Izzo believes the big game experience of his two newest recruits is something that can help his program maintain its same level of success.
“I think that anytime you get recruits that have been in successful programs it benefits you,” Izzo said of Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn and Javon Bess, who both signed national letters of intent to play for Michigan State on Wednesday. “They’ve been in big games, they know how to play in big games and they know exactly what’s expected of them and demanded of them.
“Tum Tum played the Harrison twins a couple years ago. Javon’s been to a state championship and tournament game. Because of that I think it’s going to be valuable once they get here as long as we keep making sure we get at that same level where we’re playing for championships and we’re playing for deep runs in the NCAA tournament. They are two guys that have been there and done that before.”
Nairn, the first player to verbally commit to Izzo in MSU’s 2014 class, is a 5-foot-1o point guard from Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kan. He was rated a top 100 player nationally by Rivals.com (61) and ESPN (72). Nairn averaged 9.4 points and 8.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals as a junior while helping Sunrise Christian Academy to a 29-1 record.
“There are a lot of things I like about Tum Tum,” Izzo said. “He’s a true point guard that can run a team, but in watching him in the weight room and on the court, he might become like a Draymond Green or Mateen Cleaves of the world. He just has incredible, incredible leadership abilities. I mean people just kind of gravitate to him. He’s one of those guys that everybody just seems to like and respect because he works so hard.
“He’s probably got to improve his shooting, but as far as strength and quickness and the ability to get the ball up the floor, relate to his teammates, I think he’s going to be a phenomenal addition. He’s got a little bit of Mateen Cleaves in him in that respect, although Mateen could probably score it a little better. He’s just kind of an infectious guy in a positive way. He gets everybody excited. He holds people accountable. He demands of himself and of people.”
Sunrise Christian is entering the season ranked No. 16 in the Super 25 boys basketball rankings.
Bess, a 6-foot-5 forward from Gahanna Lincoln that verbally committed to the Spartans last month, averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while helping his team to a 22-6 record as a junior.
“We think Javon, after going down and watching him and not seeing him as much early and going down and watching him, has the ability to do a lot of different things,” Izzo said. “He shoots it, he’s a good athlete, he’s got length and he can defend. He’s kind of a jack of all trades and I think he too was very well coached in high school and I think he’s going to be a guy that blossoms here.
“I think he can play more than one position offensively. I think he can play almost three positions. He’s played some point there, but he’s a two and a three. He can guard one through four in some ways. As I said, he has a very good mind for the game. He has a great family. He comes from a great school. He offers the same thing that Tum Tum brings – the ability to fit into a system.”
SPARTANS IN THE NBA: Here’s a look at how former MSU basketball players have done in the NBA so far this season. Figures are prior to Tuesday night’s games.
Alan Anderson, Brooklyn – In his first season with the Nets, the guard is averaging 6 points and 1.8 rebounds in six games.
Zach Randolph, Memphis – The forward is averaging 13 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Grizzlies in seven games.
Draymond Green, Golden State – The second-year forward is averaging 4.3 points and 5.4 rebounds through first nine games for the Warriors