Michigan State Basketball: Top 10 fan favorite players of Tom Izzo era

Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball
Kalin Lucas, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Honestly, Kalin Lucas still doesn’t get enough love for what he did at Michigan State. If you look at his numbers, he’s an all-time Spartan great.

Kalin came to Michigan State from Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s as a four-star prospect and was a major recruiting victory for Tom Izzo. He joined a loaded class with Durrell Summers and Chris Allen and that trio was supposed to bring another national title to East Lansing — and it almost did.

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As a freshman, he had a major role, averaging 10.3 points and 3.8 assists and he played over 25 minutes per game which is unheard of for a freshman under Izzo.

Then, as a sophomore, he helped lead Michigan State to the national title game, averaging 14.7 points and 4.6 assists and he was also named Big Ten player of the year. This was when it looked like Lucas was going to become the best point guard Izzo ever coached, surpassing Mateen Cleaves. The Spartans lost the title game to a loaded (NBA talent-ridden) North Carolina team but had another elite squad in his junior year.

Unfortunately, a torn Achilles in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament forced him to watch Korie Lucious lead the Spartans to another Final Four and his NBA dreams were essentially shot.

Kalin came back for his senior year to try and win a national title and his numbers actually improved, but there just was something wrong with the team chemistry that season and the Spartans barely made the NCAA Tournament at 19-15 and lost in round one.

That senior season was the difference between Kalin as a top-five all-time fan favorite and this spot on the list.