UK Recruiting

Byrd goes with gut, Spartans instead of UK

A "gut feeling" won out over recruiting razzle-dazzle as prospect Russell Byrd committed to Michigan State on Friday.

"At the end of the day, he's really a simple kid," said his father, Kelly Byrd.

Byrd, a junior, picked Michigan State over Kentucky and Michigan.

Location was a factor. It takes an hour and 40 minutes to drive from the Byrds' home in Fort Wayne, Ind., to Michigan State. The driving distance is three hours to Michigan and four to UK.

"It did play into it to some degree," Kelly Byrd said of the distances involved.

So did a "gut feeling," the player's father said.

"Other places were maybe more impressive," Kelly Byrd said. "Other places you could be really blown away by things."

Kentucky, which the Byrds visited on Big Blue Madness weekend, was one of those places.

"I mean blown away in the best sense of the phrase," Kelly Byrd said. "It was just a gut feeling when he sat down with Coach (Tom) Izzo and his staff. He did say he sensed from the first time a real strong sense of family, a real connection."