INDIANAPOLIS – Michigan State pulled one of the nation's premier forwards out of Ohio last year when they signed Raymar Morgan from two-time state champion Canton McKinley.
Now the Spartans are back in Ohio looking for another "do-everything" forward for their 2008 recruiting class. And Michigan State may have found the right man for the job in Delvon Roe.
The Spartans have made it clear that they like Roe and the versatile forward has reciprocated Michigan State's interest and lists the Spartans in his top five along with Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, and Miami.
The Spartans, says Roe, will get an unofficial visit in the next month.
"I really like Michigan State," said Roe. "I would have to say they are really high on my list. I love the style of basketball that they play and I think that I would fit into their system really well."
Roe also likes that fact that Michigan State has begun to pick up its recruiting effort in the state of Ohio, beginning with Travis Walton two years ago and Morgan last year.
Roe has a lot in common with Morgan aside from their Buckeye State background. Both players are products of the King James Shooting Stars basketball program. And it is Roe, who has been given the difficult assignment of filling Morgan's shoes.
And while he hasn't completely filled the void left by Morgan, Roe is well on his way to doing so. At 6-foot-7, Roe is already a good defender and rebounder. He has a solid face-up game and is comfortable playing with his back to the basket.
But to have the type of impact that Morgan had for Shooting Stars, Roe will need to develop the leadership qualities and other intangibles that made Morgan such a valuable player in Percy Robinson's program.
Roe says he learned a lot from Morgan, playing with him on the Shooting Stars and against him in practice last year. The junior-to-be hopes that he can emulate Morgan's undying desire to win in a way that is expressed with his play and passed on to his teammates by example.
"I like the way Raymar did things," said Roe. "He is a real cool guy and he taught me a lot. He never did a lot of shouting or made a big display. He just worked hard and led by example. I want to be that guy for us.
"Raymar wasn't involved in all of the nonsense. He didn't show off and do the head bumps and chest bumps. He played basketball. And that's what I want to do, play basketball without the nonsense."
Morgan may have served as a role model to Roe, but his solid basketball foundation is largely the product of the blue-collar fundamentals stressed in Robinson's Shooting Stars program.
"Coach Percy does things the right way," Roe said. "He doesn't have time for nonsense. You play defense and work hard or you don't play. I know I am going to be pushed at the next level and it's good to get that now."
Roe not only expects to get pushed at the next level, he welcomes it.
"I want to go to a school that has a success in winning and that has a tradition of making their players better and helping them take the steps to become successful at the next level," he said. "Michigan State is one of the schools that give me the opportunity to make those things happen."
Roe believes he can accomplish many of his goals at each of the five schools he is looking. But he wants to take his time and research all his options before paring his current list of five schools down to three or less and eventually making his decision.
On Thursday, Roe was asked by a Columbus area reporter whether he would be able to hold off on making his college choice if the home-state Buckeyes had offers on the table for both him and fellow Ohioan Yancey Gates.
Roe told the reporter that he would hold off because he had several options to choose from.
"If I didn't have all of those other options it would concern me," he said.
Currently, Ohio State has a commitment from Roe's Shooting Stars' teammate Kosta Koufos. Koufos has been working hard to get Roe to join him in Columbus. But Michigan State could have a card up its sleeve with Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers being at the NIKE All-America Camp.
Lucas and Roe are on the same Team Duke roster this week. And Lucas indicated during Thursday's interviews that he would like to see Roe in East Lansing wearing a Michigan State uniform.
"He is a guy that I will be talking a lot to this week," Lucas said. "He is a good player, someone that I want playing with me."
Spartanmag.com will have video of Roe in action in the near future. Stay tuned for the latest on Roe and other recruiting targets throughout the week.