Michigan State keeps winning on the court, however, similar results in recruiting have been tougher to come by.
The Spartans missed out on another five-star prospect on Sunday when 6-foot-9 Isaiah Stewart, the sixth-rated prospect in the nation according to the composite rankings at 247sports.com announced he was committing to Washington. Stewart chose the Huskies over Michigan State, Duke, Syracuse and Kentucky. His announcement comes just more than a month after five-star Vernon Carey Jr. chose Duke over Michigan State.
Stewart, a native of Rochester, N.Y., is playing his final prep season at La Lumiere in La Porte, Ind., the same school that produced former Spartan and NBA Lottery pick Jaren Jackson Jr.
The commitment didn’t shock many considering predictions on where Stewart would play began to flip heavily in the last couple of days to Washington, with Syracuse, Michigan State and Duke landing only a handful of guesses.
The pull to Washington is the connection Stewart has with head coach Mike Hopkins. A longtime assistant at Syracuse, Hopkins has been recruiting Stewart since middle school, and Stewart values that relationship.
"Me and Coach Hopkins go way back from when I was freshman," Stewart said. "I’m a big relationship guy and the relationship played a major role in my recruitment and he’s a coach I trust to push me harder, help me accomplish my goals. I’m looking forward to going there, winning games, being a sponge, soaking up everything and just working my hardest."
It was the type of move some in the recruiting world expected from Stewart.
“Isaiah is kind of a different type of kid,” Rivals.com national basketball analyst Corey Evans said in December. “He’s a very relationship-driven kid and very, very mature. Mike Hopkins has known the kid since seventh, eighth grade. The first thing he did once he got the job at Washington was make Isaiah Stewart the priority. And Isaiah has always been about being different, as well, and you put two and two together and kind makes sense what Washington can offer.”
However, Stewart had been considered a Michigan State lean as recently as late last fall and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and his staff never stopped pushing for Stewart, taking in a La Lumerie’s game a little more than a week ago.
"I’m a different type of player," Stewart said "I’ll take my own path. I like to work hard, prove people wrong."
Michigan State has just one player signed to the 2019 class — 6-7 forward Malik Hall, rated the No. 53 player in the nation. They also have a commitment from 6-2 guard Rocket Watts, the 32nd-ranked player in the nation who is playing this season at Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio. The Detroit native did not sign in the early period, leading to speculation he would flip to another school. However, he has contended his still plans to sign with the Spartans.
Michigan State is also on the list for 6-7 forward Keion Brooks, the 22nd-ranked player in the country. He’s a teammate of Stewart’s at La Lumiere, but it seems he’s trending heavily toward Indiana.
Brooks has not said when he’ll announce his commitment.