Tom Izzo doesn’t miss often when he chooses to hand the keys to an in-state lead guard recruit. The two-decade track record as MSU’s head coach has seen “wins” like Flint Northern’s Mateen Cleaves, Lansing Waverly’s Marcus Taylor, Wyoming Park’s Drew Neitzel, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Kalin Lucas and Detroit Pershing’s Keith Appling; a likely winner in freshman Cassius Winston of Detroit U-D Jesuit; and only one bad miss Brandon Cotton the McDonald’s All-American from Detroit DePorres who transferred to Detroit.
Such is the storied lineage Foster Loyer places himself after accepting a Michigan State scholarship offer before playing the first game of his junior season at Clarkston. Loyer is an elite shooter from three-point land or on mid-range pullups who sees, anticipates and executes like a much older player. While the in-state guard recruits could all score in bunches while still involving teammates, they all had different physical profiles and strengths to their game. Nor does he slide into any prefab Spartan template. A closer fit might be similarly sized Kyle McAlarney, who scored 15 ppg as a Notre Dame uppderclassman. Loyer’s not just an all-state player, but one who has produced in some of the world’s most talented youth basketball venues like the Nike Peach Jam, where his All-Ohio Red team won the 16U title, and NBA Players Association Top 100 camp.
Loyer’s Clarkston team is the slight favorite in a top-heavy Class A field when the season tips off in December. The Wolves are far from a one-man show. 6-5 senior Dylan Alderson is one of the toughest matchups in the state, and a key early recruit for LaVall Jordan at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“Dylan brings toughness, athleticism and a versatile skill set to the court and has a high ceiling and work ethic to match,” Jordan said when Alderson signed.
The third returning All-OAA starter is 5-10 junior guard CJ Robinson. He was a standout defender who didn’t make a lot of mistakes as a sophomore, and now sticks it consistently enough that Robinson and Loyer can be a fluid pair of point guard shooters in the same backcourt. Clarkston has two shooters who thrive playing off those two, 6-2 junior Nick Wells and Chase Wasilk, a 6-5 junior who is just figuring out his game but has a tremendous upside.
Clarkston is intriguing if unproven in the post. The most varsity-ready looks like 6-6 junior Tristen Mysen because he can grind on the defensive class, run the court and finish on the other end. A pair of 6-9 underclassmen, sophomore Taylor Currie and freshman Matt Nicholson, means that with the upperclassmen Alderson and Loyer, Clarkston has a top 10 in-state college prospect in each class.