Unlike the William Buford selection, giving the nod to Kalin Lucas for the All-Big Ten team required little thought. The torn left achilles tendon Lucas suffered in last year’s NCAA Tournament run not only hurt the Spartans’ chances of cutting down the nets in Indianapolis, it also ended any chance the 6-0 guard would declare forgo his senior season.
And so he returns to East Lansing with a legitimate shot at another Final Four, a Big Ten championship and conference player of the year accolades (an award he already won once as a sophomore). He’ll also be out to prove to NBA scouts that he’s worthy of being selected in next June’s draft.
Lucas’ 2009-2010 numbers: 14.8 ppg, 3.9 apg, 1.9 rpg, 35% 3PT, 45% FG, 77% FT. His 80 turnovers (2.4 per game) led Michigan State.
All signs point to the recovery and return of Lucas being on track. He’s scheduled to return to the court sometime this month and barring any setbacks, should be ready for the start of practice next month.
The uncertainty, much like in the case of Maurice Creek’s knee, lies in how long it will take Lucas to become 100 percent comfortable making explosive moves on his surgically repaired achilles tendon. The hope for both Tom Izzo and Michigan State fans is that no setbacks occur as the Spartans face a tough non-conference slate that includes a trip to Maui, Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Syracuse at the Carrier Dome and Texas at home. In a word: brutal.
Assuming Lucas is able to return to his pre-injury form, it’s hard to deny the impact he’ll have given his versatility and experience playing at a high-level. The combination of his ability to distribute, penetrate, pull-up and knock down perimeter shots makes him one of the toughest guards to prepare for in the country. And even if Lucas needs a couple of months to return to form, if he’s anywhere close to 100 percent when the Big Ten rolls around, he’s a good bet for his second conference POY in three seasons.
Filed to: Kalin Lucas