Tom Izzo is no stranger to winning, and the long-time Michigan State coach came out on top in a big recruiting battle Monday afternoon when Gahanna senior Javon Bess announced his verbal commitment to play men's basketball for the Spartans.
Bess, a 6-5 guard/forward who helped Pickerington Central win a state title as a sophomore before leading Gahanna to a regional runner-up finish a year ago, also considered Kansas State and Dayton.
All three schools would have been solid choices.
Kansas State was 27-8 and is coached by Bruce Weber, who obviously knows a thing or two about Midwest basketball considering he used to coach at Illinois.
Dayton went 17-14 last season but does have a pair of former central Ohio stars on its roster in Northland graduates Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott.
Since Izzo took over at Michigan State in 1995, the Spartans have one national championship (2000), a national runner-up finish (2009), six Final Fours and seven Big Ten championships.
Last season, the Spartans were 27-9 and made the Sweet Sixteen.
"Kansas State and Dayton were still in the picture, but when I went to Michigan State I fell in love with the place," said Bess, who took his official visit to Michigan State last weekend. "I can tell (Izzo) really loves his players. He talked to me a lot."
Last season for Gahanna, Bess averaged 18 points and eight rebounds and was first-team all-OCC-Ohio Division and second-team all-district. The Lions went 22-6.