He isn’t Cliff Alexander. He isn’t Tyus Jones. Heck he isn’t even Lourawls Nairn.
Javon Bess is not one of the sexiest names in the 2014 recruiting class, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a bright future ahead of him at Michigan State.
He is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound wing out of Columbus, Ohio who is ranked by most recruiting outlets as a 3-star recruit. There is no one part of his game that really jumps out at you, but there isn’t anything he really struggles with either. He is just a solid all-around basketball player.
The story of his recruitment didn’t start with a scout or anything like that; it started when Michigan State point guard Travis Trice was home for a workout. Trice noticed Bess and immediately saw something in his game that prompted him to tell Coach Izzo that he needed to go after him–and after whiffing on the big name recruits of the 2014 class Izzo did just that.
Bess recently showed off his game in the Moneyball Pro-Am League where he plays on a team with fellow incoming MSU recruit Marvin Clark. He has impressed Michigan State players and coaches with his game, causing some to speculate that he could even work his way into a starting role by the time the season starts.
Although it seems like a far-fetched idea for a 3-star recruit who comes in with almost zero hype to earn a starting job on opening night–it is possible. Tom Izzo isn’t afraid to start freshmen if he believes they deserve to start, a recent example being Gary Harris. That isn’t to suggest Bess is anywhere near the player Harris was, but the Spartans do have a noticeable hole in their lineup at the shooting guard position. If Bryn Forbes is ruled ineligible to play this season and Alvin Ellis III doesn’t seize the starting job, it could be Bess’ for the taking.
Bess’ skillset seems to fit right in with the current Michigan State roster. His size and length give him the ability to play small forward as well as shooting guard, which is key because of how valuable it is to have players who can play multiple positions. Another reason he fits in is because he has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He knows to go to the rim if he gets matched up against a big, and he will post up if a smaller guard switches onto him.
Former Spartan great Draymond Green got to see Bess play recently and he praised him for his basketball IQ saying he was a year or two ahead of most freshmen mentally. That’s high praise, especially coming from Green who was one of the savviest players in MSU history.
Javon Bess seems to already be exceeding the somewhat low expectations that were set for him going into this year. He probably won’t be the B1G Freshman of the Year, but he should make an impact this year and could become a special player in a few years if he continues to grow and mature–which shouldn’t be a problem under Tom Izzo.
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