Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kalin Lucas going pro next year?

UPDATE: The Lansing State Journal has a full rundown with Izzo regarding Kalin Lucas missing practice. Definite must-read if you are a Spartan fan.

We mentioned in today's dump that Kalin Lucas had been punished by Tom Izzo at a recent practice. Whether he was suspended, benched, or kicked out of practice, the bottom line is that Lucas has done something to anger Izzo.

Yesterday, Izzo spoke to reporters, and its pretty clear what the issue is:

If he wants to assume the position of being the best player and this and that, he has the assume the position of taking some leadership responsibilities. And I don't think he's done that, so that's where I'm at with it... A leader has got to lead in the locker room, in hotels, in the streets, on the floor, on the bench... I just think there a lot of things we need him to be. I don't think right now his focus is on our team. I think this is one of the things that happens often. People start focusing on things that are beyond here, and then you start listening to people and then you have problems, and I'm just trying to nip those things in the bud.
It isn't all that difficult to see what Izzo is getting at. Could it be that Lucas was suspended because he was focusing more on his draft status than on the Spartan's season?

Regardless, it is obvious that Izzo is very unhappy with the way his captains - Raymar Morgan and Lucas - are handling their leadership roles. In addition the suspending Lucas, whose status is unknown for the Spartan's next game against UT-Arlington, he also named Draymond Green and Isiah Dahlman captains. Dahlman doesn't get a lot of minutes, while Green might be Michigan State's best big man, a versatile 6'6" power forward that can really pass the ball well.

Michigan State is 9-3 on the season, with losses to Florida, UNC, and Texas and has not looked as good as many thought they would be in the preseason. Based on comments from Izzo after the Texas loss, this seems to be an issue that has been building.

"Leadership and chemistry are what's got to improve," Izzo said. "Its not an issue people getting along off the court."

That second statement is something that is not stressed enough. A team may be the best of friends, but that doesn't mean they play well together. Seton Hall, who lost last night to Syracuse, is another example. With guys like Jeremy Hazell, Herb Pope, and Eugene Harvey, Bobby Gonzalez has a team with as much raw talent as anyone in the Big East. But the Pirates just don't always seem to be on the same page, whether it is Hazell taking 25 footers off of one pass, miscommunication on a pass, or losing a man defensively and giving up an easy bucket.

It works the other way as well; you don't have to be friends to win. Ask Shaq and Kobe.

So, yeah, now we have a reason for the Spartan's early season struggles.

But don't the Spartans always seem to struggle early in the season?

Its just a matter of time before Izzo gets this group playing well.

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