Four elite high school hoopers sign to Michigan State's 'best class ever'

Four elite high school hoopers sign to Michigan State's 'best class ever'

Early Signing Period

Four elite high school hoopers sign to Michigan State's 'best class ever'

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Gahanna Lincoln's Nick Ward, right, plays March 14, 2015. (Photo: Chris Parker, Detroit Free Press via Columbus Dispatch)

Gahanna Lincoln’s Nick Ward, right, plays March 14, 2015.
(Photo: Chris Parker, Detroit Free Press via Columbus Dispatch)

EAST LANSING — All four signatures are in on perhaps the best recruiting class Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo ever has assembled, one that ranks No. 2 nationally, behind Duke, according to the major recruiting services.

The signings mean that Izzo was able to hold a news conference today to discuss point guard Cassius Winston (U-D Jesuit), shooting guard Joshua Langford (Madison, Ala.), small forward Miles Bridges (Flint and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep) and big man Nick Ward (Columbus, Ohio).

Izzo called Bridges “just an animal” and “one of the best rebounders I’ve seen in awhile.”

“He’s got the body of an Antonio Smith, of a (Branden) Dawson, but he’s got the skills of a Morris Peterson and guys like that,” Izzo said of the 6-foot-6 Bridges, a consensus top-15 player who picked MSU over Kentucky and others. “He can shoot the three just as well as he can dunk on you.”

Izzo praised Langford for his athleticism, versatility and unselfishness. He said Ward “might have taken the biggest jump” of all these players in the past year and called him a “poor, poor, poor man’s Zach Randolph.”

Izzo called Winston “the straw that stirs the drink” who is a natural “winner” and “consummate point guard because he makes other people better.” He said if Winston improves his shooting as much in the next year as he did in the past year, “he’s really going to be a special player.”

Asked whether this is the best recruiting class he has put together, Izzo said: “That would have to be the best class ever.”

Izzo praised his assistant coaches for their work and said he never has seen a staff collaborate so effectively.

MSU also still is pursuing wing Josh Jackson (Detroit and Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif.), ranked by some services the No. 1 player in the class of 2016. The early signing period for basketball starts today, but there will be another one in the spring.

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Four elite high school hoopers sign to Michigan State's 'best class ever'
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