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

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Jan 5, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo reacts to a play during the 1st half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

6. Class of 2004

The 2004 class was loaded with talent in the post as guys like Goran Suton and Marquise Gray were expected to make big impacts in the Green & White. Izzo was hoping for big things out of this class as point guard and Michigan’s Mr. Basketball Award winner Drew Neitzel would be the glue to hold everyone together.

Gray was the crown jewel of the class, coming in as one of the top big men in the nation and the only five-star for 2004. However, he never seemed to grasp the plays and often found himself in Izzo’s doghouse for his lack of energy. Every State fan knows how excited they were when he committed to MSU, but he fizzled out in a Spartan uniform. Over his career, Gray scored just over 600 points, averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest, never living up to his potential.

Idong Ibok was a lightly-recruited center from Nigeria who was known primarily for his post presence and scored less than 100 points throughout his entire Michigan State career. He attempted just 60 field goals in four years while playing very minimally. Ibok finished his career with a 0.9-point, 1.4-rebound per game average. The fans loved him, and saying his name, though.

Suton was one of the most pleasant surprises in the entire class — and in quite some time. He came in as a local three-star big man and euro-style player with inside-out range and ended his career as the first NBA draft selection since Paul Davis, Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager in 2006. The surprisingly-lethal power forward finished his career in East Lansing averaging 8.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game — improving his numbers each season.

It’s safe to say Neitzel finished with the most successful four years of any of the 2004 incoming freshmen. The pint-sized point guard was in charge of some of the least talent-driven teams in Izzo’s tenure and even helped the Spartans upset the No. 1 team in the country with clutch shots and a crazy amount of leadership. Neitzel went down as one of the most beloved Spartans in the Izzo era and finished his career with an average of 11.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.

This class finished with a Final Four appearance as freshmen, two early-round exits and a Sweet Sixteen.

Next: 5. Class of 2010

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