Michigan State Basketball: Ranking Tom Izzo’s top 10 recruiting classes

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Mar 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) reacts with Michigan State Spartans guard Gary Harris (14) during the first half against the Virginia Cavaliers in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

8. Class of 2012

It seems like each season there has been a transfer out of the Spartan program and the class of 2012 lost sharpshooting forward Kenny Kaminski. He was apparently indefinitely suspended by Tom Izzo for violating team rules, but he made it look more as if it was his choice to transfer.

Don’t let Kaminski’s troubles trick you into thinking this class was a failure as five-star guard Gary Harris was the gem of the group. Harris was one of Izzo’s best recruits in his decade-plus of coaching and he did not disappoint in his two seasons in the Green & White. He had the option of going pro after his freshman year, but stayed one extra season to learn and develop his NBA skills. Harris finished his career with a Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight appearance, finishing with 14.9 points ad 3.3 rebounds per game.

Matt Costello was the best big man in the class as the four-star power forward was a bit raw, but the 2012 Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan had the potential to be a starting-caliber post player. He has gotten progressively better in each of his three seasons in East Lansing, finishing the 2015 Final Four run with 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Next season could be Costello’s best yet.

Last, but certainly not least, Denzel Valentine was a local kid who opened the eyes of the coaching staff with his Magic Johnson-esque passing skills and his solid offensive skill set. Valentine has done a great deal of progressing as a player under Izzo and has gone from showtime to reliable. He has become a great shooter and offensive player, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Next: 7. Class of 2008

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