The pursuit to add a guard to the 2020 recruiting class just became a bit tougher for Michigan State.
Five-star guard Karim Mane told ESPN on Thursday that he is entering his name in the NBA Draft but is not hiring an agent and is leaving open the option of going to college next season.
“I sent in my paperwork, but I am keeping my options open as far as college,” Mane told ESPN. “I am not planning on hiring an agent right now. I want to hear directly from teams. If I can get a guarantee I'll be drafted, I will probably need to think about staying in.”
Mane, the 6-foot-4 combo guard from Montreal, has been one of Tom Izzo’s prime targets to fill out this year’s recruiting class. Mane reportedly took a virtual visit with Michigan State last week and has been recruited heavily by Marquette, Memphis, Pittsburgh and DePaul as well as Michigan State.
An international player who turned 19 in May, Mane meets the NBA’s age requirements.
The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25, but that could potentially be pushed to a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is normally 10 days before the draft.
"There's a lot of unknown with the pre-draft process," Mane said. "Unfortunately we can't work out in front of teams. Hopefully it's going to be smooth. Probably a lot of zoom and Skype calls. I think workouts would have helped me, but we can't do much right now with everything that is going on around the world."
In the meantime, Michigan State will continue to look for a guard to supplement a backcourt that is light on point guards. Foster Loyer will be back for his junior season but has struggled to this point, while Michigan State is also bringing in AJ Hoggard, a top-100 prospect who can play both guard positions. Rocket Watts, a shooting guard, is also likely to play some at the point after closing with a strong push to his freshman season.
The Spartans kicked the tires the last few weeks on a handful of transfers, including Harvard’s Bryce Aiken, Radford’s Carlik Jones and UNLV’s Amauri Hardy. However, each of those players has committed elsewhere, with Aiken headed to Seton Hall, Jones to Louisville and Hardy, the Detroit native, going to Oregon.
That meant most of the attention had been turned to Mane, who might still end up in college next year but certainly has an eye toward the NBA.
“All my options are open,” he said. "I'm going to keep my eligibility as of right now.”