Michigan State fans have long inured themselves to the inevitable pain of losing a recruiting battle at the Eleventh Hour. So much so that they've convinced themselves it doesn't matter. And there's some truth to that, as Tom Izzo has made a Hall of Fame career out of projects and misfit pieces. But even a casual glance at past NCAA champions makes it painfully obvious that a huge part of the process is assembling a war chest to take the floor six times in an 17-day stretch come spring. Denying that fact allows some sort of weird blue-collar Midwest zeal to flourish, but doesn't make it any less true.
The sound of Spartans changing their tune swiftly and forcefully on the whole issue of recruiting and its import is reverberating loudly as today the program secured its second five-star player in eight days. Max Christie, an All-Everything shooting guard from the Chicago area, committed to Izzo. Like Emoni Bates, it was a television event. Like Bates, the crown jewel rumored to be the best thing since LeBron James, the result fell in MSU's favor.
Christie even chose East Lansing over Durham. That is ... not usually the way it's worked. It's a brave new world and if college basketball exists past the next calendar year, Michigan State is going to be in prime position to bring Izzo's much-desired and long-elusive national title home. Bates has been open to the possibility of reclassifying to move up his college year. It's possible he and Christie will end up coming to campus at the same time.
Reading between the lines, you should see that I am thrilled. Watching marquee players choose other programs after flirting with MSU has had a cumulative effect of dulling the senses. It;'s been natural not to care so there was disappointment. The times they are a-changing.
If this is the way Izzo re-invents himself in the back nine of his career, by unlocking some code he couldn't before, that's just another feather in his cap. The future at Breslin is bright. Perhaps as bright as it's ever looked before.
All that remains is the small matter of ensuring college basketball continues to be a thing as the global pandemic hits the U.S. especially hard. Deep breaths.