August 11, 2010

Costello latest in barrage of commitments to Izzo

EAST LANSING - The parade of commitments for Tom Izzo and Michigan State basketball reached a pleasing crescendo on Wednesday around noon when Matt Costello gave a verbal pledge to the Spartans. Costello, a skilled, scrappy 6-foot-8 power forward from Bay City Western, is Michigan State's fifth commitment in 12 days, and the second committed member of the 2012 recruiting class.

Costello committed while in Izzo's office, along with his mother, father, his basketball coach and church youth pastor.

"This is a great day," Costello said. "I feel so happy. I'm excited. When my mom started crying, I just held her and it felt so good to be committed."

Costello chose Michigan State over offers from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, USC and Butler.

Costello has good shooting skill, out to 3-point range, and a blue collar, hard-working approach to the game that attracted Izzo. Costello also has a solid frame, with the ability to gain enough weight and strength to battle in the Big Ten.

"I felt like the time was right," Costello said. "Everything fell into place. My dad and I have done a lot of studying universities, trying to figure out which one was right."

Costello said he felt the impulse to commit to Michigan State two weeks ago, but his father advised him to take his time and make sure.

"When Coach Izzo first called, I was ready to commit then," Costello said. "But my dad said, 'No, you have to stop and think about this. You can't do this off an emotion. You have to think this through, weigh options, do pros and cons. I had to wait a little but this eventually worked out."

Costello has been to East Lansing several times, but today's trip was more academically-related.

"I was planning to (commit today), but I had never seen the academic side of Michigan State," Costello said. "I've always been to the gym, or the practice gym. I've always hung around the facilities, but I have never went through the whole thing.

"That was the main thing I wanted to do today. We said if there was anything really, really bad, then we were going to say no and pull the plug."

He said he saw nothing but good.

"We went to the business school to start off with, and then we went to the Smith Center," Costello said. "That is an amazing thing they have going on there."

He met with a academic advisors and learned more about MSU's school of business.

"There are seven different majors (within the school of business) and we learned about each of them, and the programs available," Costello said. "We knew the academics were good. It's a Big Ten school, the academics are going to be good. It was great to learn more.

"We went to the weight room with the strength coach, and football practice was going on, so it was interesting to see that going on."

Then they headed back to Izzo's office, where the head coach delivered more pro-MSU pitches.

"He was addressing some of the questions that I've had, and he talked for about 30 minutes, and cut in and said, 'Coach, I just want to play at Michigan State,'" Costello said.

That might have been the first time Izzo was interrupted by a verbal commitment, but the 16th-year coach will take it.

"I said I'm ready to do this," Costello said. "He said, 'Well, i guess didn't need to say all of that before hand.'

"He was really excited. He said, 'I'm glad you committed. This has got me settled and I'm not worried about it anymore."

Since July 31, Michigan State has gained commitments from 6-7 power forward Kenny Kaminsky of Medina, Ohio, 6-6 forward Brandon Dawson of Gary, Ind., 5-11 guard Travis Trice of Dayton, Ohio, junior guard/forward Denzel Valentine of Lansing Sexton and now Costello.

"It feels good to be a part of that," Costello said. "I'm just happy. I know Kenny and Denzel pretty well. It's just kind of cool for it to all come together like this and I'm looking forward to playing with those guys."

Costello sports a 3.8 grade point average and produced 17 points and 12 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore. He had a high game of 30 against Saginaw Heritage.

"But we lost that game, so that wasn't one of my best moments of the year," Costello said. "I could care less if I scored 2 points, as long as we win."

Izzo has recruited a handful of power forwards over the years who have the ability to nail the perimeter jumper as a pick-and-pop threat. But few of them played as hard as high school juniors as Costello does now.

"Coach Izzo said he liked my versatility, my hard work, being willing to dive on the floor, rebound out of my area," Costello said. "I'm a decent shooter I'm not saying I'm any kind of 3-point shooter."

Others are. And Izzo will help Costello develop that craft. A.J. Granger was not a prolific 3-point shooter in high school, but became a deadly marksman from deep for the 2000 National Championship team.

What did Costello like about MSU?

"I like their program," Costello said. "They of course have a winning team. I think I fit well with the type of person that goes to Michigan State, that person being a scrappy, hard worker who isn't always looking for their own. I like the academics of course. Coach Izzo stays on kids hard to do their academics. And Michigan State is close to home."

Costello received a scholarship offer from MSU earlier this summer. In March, he watched MSU closely during the NCAA Tournament, but wasn't necessarily waving a green and white pom pon.

"At that point, I was just cheering for good basketball, to be honest with you," Costello said. "I was cheering for Butler, I was cheering for Michigan State, I was cheering for Duke. I wasn't really rooting for one team.

"But definitely next year, if Michigan State makes it to the Final Four again, I'll be rooting for them all the way."

And beginning in the fall of 2012, Costello will begin doing his part to try to help Michigan State make more treks to the NCAA national semifinals, and beyond.













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