November 22, 2006

Video: Future Spartan Korie Lucious in action

During the Tom Izzo era at Michigan State, the Spartans have been at their best when they have had a skilled point guard running the show.

Outstanding play in backcourt has always been a prerequisite for success in the NCAA tournament. Without an elite point guard, the odds of making a run to the Final Four or a run at a national championship are slim at best.

Until Drew Neitzel's emergence at point guard as a true freshman, Michigan State found it is difficult to have the success typical of Spartan teams during the Izzo era. Chris Hill did the best he could in moving from his natural position of shooting guard to point guard during his career at Michigan State, but the Spartans' offense did not begin to click on all cylinders until Neitzel's insertion into the starting lineup two years ago.

On signing day, two weeks ago, Izzo signed a player in Kalin Lucas with the potential to be the next great Spartan point guard. Lucas possesses the ability to penetrate at will and is the quickest point guard of the Izzo era.

With Lucas on board for 2007 and just three scholarships available for 2008, it may seem odd at first glance that Michigan State has the room to give one of those scholarships to electrifying Milwaukee point guard Korie Lucious. But the level of importance placed on the point guard in the Michigan State system together with the way the Spartans' high-octane running game has struggled without a top point guard running the show makes it a no-brainer for the Spartans to sign an elite point guard in back-to-back recruiting classes.

Lucas and Lucious have comparable talent. The two outstanding point guards should compliment each other well and will thriving whether they are on the court at the same time or taking turns directing what will likely be the most explosive transition attack in college basketball in a couple of years.

When Lucious was at the Tom Izzo Spartan Shootout in June with his DTA Wisconsin summer team, he impressed onlookers with his explosive game. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and his assistant coaches were courtside to watch Lucious match-up against another top 2008 point guard in Flint Southwestern Academy's Anthony Crater.

Lucious guided his team to a hard-fought win over Crater and his SWA teammates. Lucious led DTA in scoring and assists against SWA. Crater excelled in his role as a table-setter, but did not score in the game.

Lucious has quickness on par with Lucas. Like Lucas, Lucious is skilled at penetrating and setting up his teammates. Lucas is better in his ability to pull-up and hit mid-range shots in traffic, while Lucious is a better 3-point shooter than his 2007 counterpart.

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