We've all heard the news and rumors about MSU's head coach Tom Izzo:
$30 million, 5 years from the
Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though State's A.D. says no official offer
has even been made. However, don't believe any of this hype- unless
Izzo knows he has Lebron
to work with.
Michigan State entered
this past season ranked #2 in the AP poll. They had their struggles in
midseason, but played up to the hype when it counted in March. Without
top player Kalin
Lucas, the Spartans
still finished just one HORRIBLE non-call away from playing in the
national title game.
Next year, they'll likely be #2 again, or maybe #1. So Izzo has a
title to win. And the only way he can do that in Cleveland, is if LeBron
Now we hear rumblings that Bron-Bron wants to stay in the city that
rocks. That fact my friend, is a game-changer. If he stays with the Cavs
then all that stuff you heard Izzo say to Andy Katz, that he'd never go
to the NBA, could get thrown out the window. Until then, H to the Izzo
has unfinished business in the state of Great Lakes Splendor.
Last year, the State of Basketball got a bum deal, and that will
motivate the Spartans. Butler star forward Gordon
Hayward even admitted it himself, telling
CBS' Seth Davis that he legitimately hacked MSU's Draymond
Green on Green's potential game-tying shot in the final seconds of
the national semi-final game.
It was very cool of him to come clean, and some State fans might feel
a little better now about how the Spartans met their Thermopylae.
However the hope in East Lansing is that next year's team will be so
good even a miserable FAILURE by a NCAA referee isn't enough to keep
them from the title. I seriously think that fans of the green and white
might want to start pricing 2011 Final Four tickets.
Kalin's torn left Achilles tendon served as a short-term rallying
point for his teammates this past March. Winning for Kalin was their
"cause" for reaching the Final Four; much like having the Final Four in
their home state was the "cause" to reach the title game in '09.
"And I think after Kalin went down, everybody just made that
commitment to just join together, just try to make a run, And that's
what we've been doing," Lucas's replacement, another KL, Korie
Lucious said during the tourney.
And now Lucas is officially back for his senior season, as is his
Summers, the Midwest Regional's Most Outstanding Player. The last
time both a star Michigan State point guard and a stellar MSU wing
chose to stay in school instead of turning pro, the school won a
Remember 1999, a time when Ricky Martin and really annoying "boy
bands" were oppressively popular? Back then Michigan St. was
led by a spectacular floor general named Mateen Cleaves, who battled
major injuries to lead his team to the Final Four during his junior
season. In his senior year, the player famous for his ugly Bill Cosby
style sweaters he sported while injured and cheerleading on the bench,
As did Morris Peterson, a talented wing player like Summers. And
during the 1999-2000 season, the Spartans earned their second NCAA title
in school history.
"We want to follow the same path Mateen and Morris did," Summers, who
averaged nearly 19 points a game during the NCAA, told the AP Friday.
So with Lucas and Summers officially back, what will the supporting
cast look like? The only notable senior gone for 2011 is Raymar Morgan,
an all-conference honorable mention. He certainly is a key loss, but
the Spartans will once again be locked and loaded next year. Their
incoming freshmen class is very stellar- highlighted by consensus top 5
center Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, a top ten point guard.
Draymond Green has NBA potential too, and he'll have another year of
seasoning going for him next year, as will the talented Derrick Nix and
Delvon Roe, who both came to East Lansing with much fanfare.
With all this going for them, it's hard to think of a better "team to
beat," at least on paper, in college basketball this November.
Head Coach Tom Izzo said it best after the Final Four loss to Butler.
Early second-half foul trouble and a roster decimated by injury forced
him to play a rather unusual and disjointed line-up. He addressed this
issue in the post-game presser, and looked ahead to 2010-11.
"That's something I'll learn from. We're going to do a better job
next year. You think our war drill is something now. Next year it's
going to be fist-fighting because I'm going to make sure my guys are
never, ever, ever, ever, physically beaten out of a game again,"
By the way, Big Ten Guru is Chicago Now blog that just started up, so I should introduce myself. Below is a picture of me where I actually look sort of cool for a change. It's a pic of me with MSU Motion moments after State clinched a trip to the 2010 Final Four. My bio follows below.
Midwest focused webzine. He is a former contributor to NBC Chicago, and
is currently a regular contributor to Walter
Football.com and the Washington
Times.com, Yardbarker Network
and Fox Sports.com
Filed under: Michigan State Spartans
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