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September 26, 2013

'Coach Izzo kept it real with me'

Tom Izzo and his staff can breathe a little easier, after receiving a commitment from Rivals150 (No. 61) point guard Lourawls Nairn, who selected Michigan State over Indiana, Oklahoma, and Minnesota on Thursday morning.

Nairn's commitment represents a critical recruiting victory for Michigan State, which had to have a top flight point guard in the Class of 2014.

"Coach Izzo kept it real with me about the situation at hand," said Nairn, whose nickname is Tum Tum. "He said that they needed a point guard but he didn't promise me a starting spot. When I went there, I saw it for myself that there was an opportunity if I worked."

Nairn made his announcement after a month of official visits. He took his first official visit to Minnesota (Aug. 29), before checking out Oklahoma (Sept. 6), Michigan State (Sept. 14), and Indiana (Sept. 21).

Nairn feels more excitement than relief with his decision behind him. He credits MoKan Elite director Matt Suther and his high school coach Kyle Lindsted with helping him manage the recruiting process.

"It hasn't been stressful because my process has only been coach Kyle and Matt," said Nairn. "I haven't had a whole bunch of other people getting involved and I know those two have my back no matter what."

Nairn will compete with Travis Trice to fill the shoes of senior Keith Appling in 2014. Michigan State hasn't signed a point guard since Trice, who was part of a four-man 2011 recruiting class along with Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney, and Dwaun Anderson.

Having Trice host Nairn on his official visit was unconventional, but an effective recruiting tool for the Spartans.

"He (Izzo) let Travis Trice be my host," said Nairn. "That stood out to me because that is the guy I would be competing with."
Nairn expects to contribute as a freshman at Michigan State.

"As long as I continue to work on all aspects of my game there is no reason I shouldn't play," he said. "I'm looking forward to going in and competing."

The ability to push the ball from baseline to baseline at a high rate of speed distinguishes Nairn from his peers.

"If there is a faster point guard in the class of 2014 then I haven't seen him," said Rivals.com basketball analyst Eric Bossi. "Tum Tum exudes toughness, controls the pace of the game and is an intense on the ball defender. He never gets too high, never gets too low and is a kid who is going to work his tail off for everything he gets. I'll be surprised if he doesn't become a fan favorite."

Nairn left The Bahamas at the age of 13 after convincing his mother Monalisa McKinney that moving stateside would create opportunities that he couldn't get in his hometown of Nassau.

"A couple of months before I got over here I started to take basketball serious," said Nairn. "But never in a million years did I dream this. I can't say that at 9 or 10 years old I was dreaming of playing at a college or playing at a division one school. But when I was 13 two of the promises I made my mom when I was asking her to let me come over to the States were one that I would get a division one scholarship and two I would play in the NBA."

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