If you think college basketball was a hectic undertaking during the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look at how high school basketball went.
Two Michigan State’s four committed recruits had to suffer through long waits to find out if their season would even happen, then play shortened seasons while wearing masks. One had the adventure of playing for two teams in far different regions of the country, while another played for an upstart program.
But those seasons are now mostly complete, and we can take a look at how the next wave of Spartans fared during the high school basketball season:
The Spartans’ five-star wing prospect had a dominant final season for Rolling Meadows (Ill.) in which he was named a McDonald’s All-American and the Chicago Sun Times’ Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound wing averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steal and two blocks per game. He led his team to a perfect 15-0 season and the school’s first conference title since 1991. Illinois didn’t hold a state tournament this season.
Christie will now be the first McDonald’s All-American to come to Michigan State since Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2017. He scored 2,100 points throughout his high school career.
Akins started the season playing alongside Emoni Bates for Ypsi Prep, but in December moved to Sunrise Christian in Kansas, the school that produced current Spartans forward Malik Hall and former point guard Tum Tum Nairn.
He finished his season playing for a national title, when Sunrise fell on Saturday to Montverde in the title game of the Geico Nationals on Saturday. Akins had 14 points in that game to cap off back-to-back 14-point games to end his season.
At Sunrise, Akins played alongside Tennessee point guard commit Kennedy Chandler, and averaged 6.1 points per game. He scored in double digits six times, including a season-high 17 in a February game against Bellevue West.
Akins was recently invited to play in the 2021 Iverson Classic, a high school all-star game in Memphis next month.
Pierre Brooks II
After waiting through a significantly delayed start to the season, Brooks was dominant when he at last took the court for his senior season with Detroit Douglass.
Brooks is averaging 32.9 points per game on the season, plus 10 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He dropped 46 points on Thursday to help the Hurricanes win a regional title.
He has Douglass on to the state quarterfinals on Tuesday and could be playing for a state title at the Breslin Center on Saturday if his team can win two more games. He’s also a finalist for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball award. If he wins, he would be the fourth winner in the last seven years to play at Michigan State.
The Spartans’ 2022 uber-recruit played a national schedule in his first season at Ypsi Prep, the school founded by his family.
In 11 games, Bates averaged 24.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game – although his shooting numbers were a bit low at 38.8 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from 3-point range. While the Ypsi Prep schedule has often been in flux, for now the season appears to be over with a record of 10-3.
And before you ask, no, he hasn’t given any indication as to if he plans to stay at Ypsi Prep, come to Michigan State or explore a professional option next year.