It’s no secret that last season was probably the most trying for Tom Izzo. He had underachieving stars like Durrell Summers, a hurt All-American in Kalin Lucas and trouble. Trouble in the form of Korie Lucious and Chris Allen.
On Tuesday night after Michigan State’s dominating win over Iowa, Izzo was asked just how the team would be playing had Lucious — who along with Allen are now at Iowa State, but can’t play until next season — been in the backcourt with Kieth Appling.
“I wouldn’t trade my guy right now for the guy I had in a million years,” Izzo said. “Everybody has their chances and if they don’t make the best of it … I’ll take Keith Appling. Nothing against Lucious, he had his chance. He didn’t take advantage of his chance. What happens in life is you move on and just ironically the guy coming in is better than the guy going out.”
Appling is having sophomore season much like that of Kalin Lucas. He was the Big Ten player of the year during that season in 2009, a season that was capped by a national title game appearance.
Appling is pretty good, and having Travis Trice and Brandon Wood in the backcourt with him is a much better fit than Lucious — though we still remember how clutch he was back in the NCAA Tournament against Maryland in the 2010 tournament.
But here’s the big question: Is Appling better than Lucas? And will he be the floor leader to bring the team’s third national title?