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Michigan State picked up a huge commitment today when 6-foot-7 swingman Russell Byrd gave his verbal commitment to the Spartans.
Byrd is the cornerstone to a pivotal class and his presence, along with point guard Keith Appling, should keep the Spartans in contention in the Big Ten and the Nation for the foreseeable future.
The Spartans, who are still finishing off their 2009 class, intend to give out three scholarships for 2010. They acted early to lock up the best point guard in the state in Detroit Pershing's Keith Appling. Once the Spartans spotted Byrd in AAU play in May, they locked on to him and never let go.
Byrd talked about what factors influenced him to pull the trigger for MSU today.
"It was just were I felt I wanted to be," said Byrd in an interview with GSN today.
Byrd said it was a relief to make his commitment to Michigan State today as recruiting had started to become "a distraction."
Byrd talked about how his recruiting unfolded. "Early on, Iowa, Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue and Arizona were the schools that were recruiting me. Then Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky, Louisville and Wake Forest were the schools that kind of jumped in late. In the end, it came down to Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State."
"I think the way I ended the summer my freshman year, I felt some offers might be coming my way. The way my sophomore season begin it was even better. My coach did a great job of getting my name out there and helping me along in this process. He helped out considerably and I appreciate it," said Byrd.
He said he bonded with almost immediately with some of the MSU players including Delvon Roe. "I talked with Delvon a lot and I talked with Travis (Walton) an awful lot. Those are great guys. Idong (Ibok) and Isaiah Dahlman and Austin Thornton were also great to be with."
Byrd said it was a key factor that MSU had already gotten a commitment from Detroit Pershing guard Keith Appling. "I think he's a great player," said Byrd. "They sat me down and I watched some video of him and I know he can get the ball to me. They say that he's a shooting guard but I think they brought him in as more of a point guard. I think we should work well together."
Reached by text message, Appling for his part was also excited. "He's pretty good," said Appling about Byrd and that, although the two have never met, he was looking forward to meeting and getting to know his future backcourt mate.
Byrd was also excited about the big men that were in the class ahead of him. "I think that its good that they got (Derrick) Nix and (Garrick) Sherman. It kind of sets the foundation for the future," he said.
We asked the newest Spartan what the fans could expect from him in the future and what he planned to work on.
"I need to work on my "handles" a little bit, he admitted. I think defense, I need to get a little bigger. The game is going to be a little bit more physical and I need to keep up with it.
Fans can expect me to knock down shots. I can do more than just shoot outside. I can score of the pick and roll, I can come off the screens and score. I can go down low and score. I'm not just a shooter,"
Byrd said he can see himself playing the two and the three positions but doesn't see himself growing into a four. "I'll have to see how much bigger I can get, the two and the three definitely."
When asked what number he would wear at MSU, Byrd was a bit puzzled.
"Well Magic was #33, I can't get that. Kelser was #32, I can't get that. Korie's number #34, maybe I'll just be #00," he said, referring to the number that will be vacated by senior Idong Ibok.
When told he probably could get some help from the fans, Byrd was all for it. So we'll start a thread on the MSU Sports Talk for MSU Sports Fans free board. Click HERE to give your input on which number new Spartan Russell Byrd should wear and why.
We'll turn over your responses to Byrd and see which one he choses.
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