August 8, 2008

Appling commits to Michigan State

SpartanMag.com has learned that Detroit Pershing guard Keith Appling committed to Michigan State today during a meeting with Spartan staff members at the Breslin Center.

Appling is listed somewhere depending 6-foot-2 and 6-3, and a wiry-strong 170 pounds. The combo guard is ranked the No. 59 player in the class of 2010 by Rivals.com, but has the capacity to rise deep into the Top 50 next spring and summer. Appling has legitimate skills at eight backcourt position, the point and the shooting guard.

Appling, his high school coach, and family members visited the Breslin Center for an 11:30 am meeting with the Spartan staff.

Appling and MSU 2009 commitment Derrick Nix led Detroit Pershing to the Class A state title game in March, where they lost to current Spartan Draymond Green and Saginaw High. In the final seconds of that game, while game-closing free throws were being shot, Appling was seen turning to Green, pointing down to the Breslin Center floor and telling Green, "I'm coming here." Green nodded in smiling approval. After the game, neither Appling nor Green would talk about the exchange, but MSU was seen as the leader through much of the process.

In mid-July, Appling told SpartanMag.com that Tennessee, Memphis, Michigan State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia Tech were schools that he was interested in.

Appling had a huge week at the Five Star Camp in Pittsburgh last month, and word had it that he was telling people at that even that he was headed to Michigan State.

"No, not yet," Appling said, when asked about it for the July issue of SPARTAN Magazine. "That's premature."

When asked what MSU likes about him, Appling said: "Michigan State says they see me as a point guard and a little bit of a two. I think I've improved at being able to run my team and being able to control the game."

Appling was named MVP of the Five Star Camp while scoring 22 points in the camp all-star game.

"My penetration was on that day," Appling said, "but my shot wasn't falling like it usually does, or I would have done even better."

Appling was just quicker and more skilled than the competition at Five Star, which isn't quite as star-studded as the camp rosters seen at the Lebron Camp or the NBAPA Top 100 Camp, but Appling is putting himself in position to be ranked among the best next summer.

"Keith played really well at Five Star," said Lansing Eastern High School coach Rod Watts, who was at the event and is also coach of the Michigan Mustangs AAU 17-and-under team. "Keith was the guy that everybody had their eye on. There were a lot of coaches from the eastern part of the country who hadn't seen Keith, but they've seen him now and they were pretty wowed by him."

Appling can run the point and unselfishly create and distribute to teammates. He is also a crafty scorer with good shooting range, which is improving all the time. He reminds some of former Indiana star A.J. Guyton. He has also been described as a more athletic version of former MSU star Marcus Taylor, although his perimeter skills aren't quite as sharp as Taylor's were at the same age, but they are getting there, and Appling would seem to have a higher ceiling based on better quickness.

"I think Keith is a very cerebral player," Watts said. "He understands the game very well, understands the angles of the floor very well, knows how to score in a number of ways from his jump shot to dribble penetration. He can just score. And he is a very good defender. He is probably a kid that is going to have the whole package.

"At Five Star, teams were running two and three guys at him and he is an unselfish player so he knows how to find the open guy. He was always stepping up when his team needed a basket. He is going to be a tough matchup for a lot of guys around the state for the next couple of years."

MORE ON APPLING

On May 29, Justin Young of Rivals.com wrote the following about Appling while watching him average 20.7 points per game (ranking 13th in the 17-and-under division) for the R.E.A.C.H. Legends at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in North Carolina:

"Few players in the class of 2010 know how to score the ball quite like the guard out of Detroit. Appling loves to go hard to the basket and challenge players at the rim. His first step is strong and quick and clearly his go-to weapon on the offensive end of the floor.

"Appling continues to light up the oldest division on the circuit. Scoring 20 points per game is becoming the norm for the rising junior. It's no wonder why those that follow the high school scene in Michigan have been singing his praises for the last year."

On July 29 at the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Young wrote this about Appling: "Keith Appling did a little bit of everything in a big win for his R.E.A.C.H. Legends over the Jackson Tigers. The class of 2010 prospect knows how to challenge defenses and make teams work hard to stop his attack."

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