Indiana fans will be able to keep a close eye on whether Xavier Booker can reach his enormous potential.
But the 6-foot-11 Indianapolis (Cathedral H.S.) product won’t be playing in Bloomington. At least not more than once a year.
Instead Booker has chosen to stay in the Big Ten and play for Michigan State and head coach Tom Izzo, he announced on Saturday.
Booker had just announced a top-10 earlier in the week that included IU, Purdue and mostly other regional schools. But as the week wore on it became clear that the stretch-four was focused on East Lansing as his destination.
IU had been an inconsistent participant in Booker’s recruitment, which required special effort since he was not on one of the major shoe circuits. Blue bloods such as Kentucky and Duke evaluated Booker, who ended up ranked a 5-star according to some outlets, but they never offered.
The view seemingly held by some schools who were less dedicated to Booker than Michigan State was that while his ceiling was high, he may not reach it in what could be just one season at the college level. Booker’s length and ability to make threes make him an appealing prospect for the NBA, even if a pro franchise has to invest in his long-term development.
Meanwhile Izzo had been front and center during recruiting live periods as much as any high-major coach in college basketball.
Now Booker will attempt to follow in the footsteps of a player he is often compared to. Central Indiana product Jaren Jackson, Jr. went to MSU for one season before he headed off to the NBA.
For Indiana, the Hoosiers are now focused on landing Georgia big man Arrinten Page, who finished an official visit in Bloomington yesterday. IU could also attempt to enter the mix late for other 2023 uncommitted big men, or they could evaluate decommits in the spring, and/or transfer portal options.
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