As Michigan State schedule lets up, Izzo and staff hit recruiting trail

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — While Michigan State’s players are getting a break from the court this week, the same can’t be said for the coaching staff.

It’s finals week at Michigan State, which means the ninth-ranked Spartans won’t play again until Sunday when they host Green Bay. But while the players are fitting in workouts and film around tests, Tom Izzo and his staff will be bouncing around the country.

Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo's week will include recruiting trips.

“I’m on the road a lot,” Izzo said on Monday. “The next couple days I’m in St. Louis, I’m in Cleveland, I’m kind of all over the place and so we’re trying to practice in the morning, get through finals and be some long days for us, but hopefully for the players they get a little rest.”

More: Michigan stays at No. 5, MSU up to No. 9 in AP Top 25

The Spartans (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) will have plenty to work on over the next couple of weeks after capping a stretch of six games in 16 days, with just one of those games being played at home. From turnovers to free throws, the Spartans weren’t as sharp in a win over Florida on Saturday and will look to focus in on details instead of constantly preparing for the next opponent.

Meanwhile, Izzo continues his pursuit of some of the top talent in the nation. The 2019 class is still the priority. Izzo and his staff took in La Lumiere’s game Saturday near Indianapolis as the Spartans push for 6-foot-9 Isaiah Stewart, the No. 6 recruit in the nation, and 6-7 forward Keion Brooks, who is rated No. 22.

They’re also keeping tabs on guard Rocket Watts, a senior at Spire Academy in Ohio. He is committed to the 2019 class, but has not signed. While watching Watts, Izzo and his staff will be pushing to convince Watts’ teammate, five-star forward Isaiah Jackson, to join Watts. Jackson is a junior at Spire and is rated No. 17 in the 2020 class.

Also on the docket for Izzo is a trip to St. Louis to check out 2020 forward Cam’Ron Fletcher. The 6-6 Fletcher from Vashon High in St. Louis is ranked the No. 41 player in the nation.

It makes for a busy week, as Michigan State plays three times the rest of the month before Big Ten play picks up again after the first of the year.

“I have to admit it’s been hard because we’re in the middle of recruiting, too,” Izzo said. “I’m on the road a lot this week and still trying to practice. So it’s been a little different. … We are one of those rare sports where everything takes place at the same time — recruiting, games, the holidays. They’re all at the same time and I think it makes it a little more difficult on us and our families and everything else.

“I’m raring to go.”

Twitter: @mattcharboneau