Two weeks after the heartache of losing his top point guard target to Kentucky, perhaps it's only fitting that Michigan State coach Tom Izzo found recruiting relief in the form of a kid nicknamed Tum Tum.Rivals.com's No. 61 recruit in the Class of 2014, announced Thursday that he plans to attend Michigan State next fall. Minnesota, Oklahoma and Indiana were the other finalists in Nairn's recruitment.
Securing a commitment from Nairn is a coup for Michigan State because until recently it appeared the Spartans might not find the heir apparent to point guard Keith Appling in the class of 2014. Izzo had made out-dueling Iowa for highly touted Tyler Ulis his top priority, but circumstances changed quickly when Kentucky offered the Chicago product a scholarship after it unexpectedly lost elite point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay to SMU.
Once it became clear to Izzo earlier this month that Ulis was likely Lexington-bound, he quickly shifted gears, offered Nairn a scholarship and invited him to visit the Michigan State campus. Despite the unusually late timing of the Spartans' full-court press, Nairn liked what he heard and committed less than two weeks after his visit.
Nairn isn't the gifted passer than the 5-foot-7 Ulis is and his jump shot remains a work in progress, but the 5-foot-11 Bahamas native has the toughness, defensive skills and leadership that past Michigan State point guards have often possessed. Plus he has both a first name and a nickname that should endear him to Spartans fans for years to come.
Nairn's grandparents named him after Lou Rawls, a silky-voiced R&B singer whose songs cracked the Billboard Hot 100 list seven times in the 1960s and 70s. His nickname is a reference to a movie character children of the '90s will remember, the youngest brother in ’3 Ninjas’ movies best known for his ability to eat.
"When I was little I used to eat everything," Nairn told NBCSports.com in July. "So they called me Tum Tum."
Since Nairn only began dabbling in basketball at age 12 or 13, the former track and field sprinter is still learning all the nuances of the point guard position. Michigan State hopes he continues to develop so he can ease the sting of watching Ulis in Kentucky blue rather than Spartan green.
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