Beecher (Flint, Michigan) star Jalen Terry sat pensive for a few moments once the question was posed.
If he could play with anyone in the country at Michigan State basketball, who would it be?
“Probably Isaiah (Jackson),” Terry said after practicing with his AAU team, The Family, on Monday night in Madison Heights.
Terry, a 5-foot-10 point guard and the No. 54 prospect for the class of 2020 who committed to MSU in April, is hoping to sway his friend, Jackson.
A 6-9 forward and a 5-star recruit ranked 17th in the nation for 2020 once played at Old Redford (Detroit) and was at at SPIRE Academy (Geneva, Ohio) last season, Jackson is returning to Michigan for his senior year at Waterford Mott.
Terry said he and Jackson, who both play for The Family, and MSU freshman (and Jackson’s ex-high school teammate) Rocket Watts would “be great. That would dominate.”
“That’s a national championship.”
Terry, 17, is following in the footsteps of Watts and MSU point guard Cassius Winston with The Family. Terry said he and Winston are friendly, and he sees aspects of his game that translate to Michigan State, especially with how Winston, last season’s Big Ten player of the year, operates.
“They keep the ball in the guard’s hands,” Terry said, “and that’s something I like to do, I can control the pace of the game.”
The Family is scheduled to play in the Peach Jam Tournament, a national showcase for elite high school basketball talent, this week in Augusta, Georgia, and Jackson is keeping his recruitment open despite some prodding from Terry.
“Every time we talk, he just says something about Michigan State,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he’s heard from some of Michigan basketball coach Juwan Howard’s assistant coaches but has yet to speak to Howard. Also on The Family is Benton Harbor forward Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, the No. 120 overall prospect for 2020 that both U-M and MSU are recruiting.
Terry isn’t alone in his recruiting of future teammates.
Jackson said Terry, Watts, Winston and others are all over him about MSU. Terry said he mentions it only every now and then to Jackson or other open recruits because he “doesn’t want to bug them.”
“I mean, that’s what everybody’s doing, really trying to push me,” Jackson said.
Terry’s pitch to Jackson is simple.
“I tell Isaiah, ‘you want to play with me. I’ll get you the ball when you want it.’”
Terry’s expectations for his college career are clear and wants to bring some of his talented friends with him.
“To be ready to play when I’m in,” Terry said. “Be ready to take Cassius’ spot.”