On Monday morning, Montgomery, Ala., native Craig Sword decided he found a comfortable fit at Mississippi State. So the G.W. Carver junior guard committed to the Bulldogs and put an early end to his college recruitment.
"Craig just knew where he wanted to go and called Coach George Brooks at Mississippi State this morning and committed," said Carver head coach James Jackson. "They recruited him hard and he just felt it was the best fit for him."
The 6-foot-3 and 170-pound Sword is the first MSU commitment for head coach Rick Stansbury's Class of 2012 and chose MSU over offers from Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. He averaged 17 points, seven boards and four assists last year and helped lead Carver to a 34-2 record and a spot in the Class 6A championship game.
Sword is rated a four-star prospect, the No. 63 overall prospect and 11th-best rated shooting guard for 2012.
Over the weekend, Sword said he talked with his family and Coach Jackson about his future. And that future turned out to be at Mississippi State.
"This weekend I talked with my family and Coach Jackson," said Sword. "We just felt my best fit was at Mississippi State. Now I can just focus on my senior year and my school work and not worry about any recruiting pressure. All of the calls and letters were getting pretty hectic. But Mississippi State was recruiting me the hardest and they were on me the longest."
And Sword noted of the factor that helped lead him to his decision on Monday.
"When I visited there during football season, I just loved my visit," said Sword. "I loved the coaches and their campus and their atmosphere and fan support. I have a good relationship with Coach Brooks and all the coaches. I feel I can have a big impact there right away and we have a lot of talent coming in. We should be pretty good these next few years and compete with the best. I am just glad that I will be a part of that."
His teammate Roquez Johnson recently signed last week with Mississippi State as part of the Bulldogs' Class of 2011.
"As they say, he is the straw that stirs the shake and he is an electrifying player for us," said Jackson. "He is a pure scorer and a combo guard that can play the one or the two but primarily the two spot. He led us in scoring, was all-state this year and was Mr. Basketball in our metro area."
And Jackson added he is also solid on both ends of the floor.
"He is just a relentless defender and a ballhawk on defense," said Jackson. "We play a pressing style on defense and he is the one that leads that press. He can also get to the basket well and plays above the rim. He has a great flowing jumpshot and at the end of the night he is always giving us 20 or so points, four or five steals and clutch rebounds. He is just a very exciting player."
Sword also noted of being re-united with Johnson in the near future. But he said that did not factor into his decision.
"It will be a lot of fun playing with 'Quez again," said Sword. "But that didn't play a role in my decision. Mississippi State has recruited me for a long time now and I didn't even know 'Quez would sign with Mississippi State until a couple of weeks ago."
Sword, who plays AAU ball with the Alabama Challenge, recently participated in the Nike EYBL at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Va., and drew good reviews at the April 11th event.
"Craig Sword finished his weekend well for the Alabama Challenge after a slow start," said Rivals national recruiting analyist Eric Bossi. "He is a big-time athlete with quickness and can create going to the rim. When his jumper started falling, he became a factor as a scorer. Defensively, he has the tool and instincts to be one of the top defenders in the 2012 class."