There was never a question whether Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas would be returning to East Lansing, Mich., for his senior season. Even if Lucas had been healthy all season, he was probably, at best, an outside second-round pick in the upcoming draft. With his torn Achilles tendon, Lucas' return to Michigan State was carved in stone. He needs another year to rehab and reclaim his status as one of the country's best guards; the NBA draft will have to wait.
Not so for teammate Durrell Summers. With his mix of guard skills and superior athleticism, Summers has always been an enticing NBA prospect, at once a bedazzling talent and a frustrating project for coach Tom Izzo. But 2009-10 was Summers' coming-out party -- the guard went on an offensive tear in the NCAA tournament, demonstrating the kind of scoring potential that typically causes NBA scouts to discover salivary functions they didn't previously notice.
Never mind all that, though: Summers is going to ignore the NBA draft for another year, opting instead to play his senior season at MSU, giving the Spartans one of the most formidable returning lineups in all of college basketball.
It's actually hard to imagine where Izzo is going to find minutes for everybody he'll have on his bench next season. Assuming Lucas recovers from his injury, the Spartans will feature one of the country's best point guards, and they also have Korie Lucious, who helped guide the Spartans to the Final Four in Lucas' absence. Sophomore forward Draymond Green is an emerging star and one of the smartest players in the country. Chris Allen is a senior sharpshooter. Athletic forward Delvon Roe played hurt for much of the 2009-10 season. Roe just completed successful knee surgery and should be back on the court in six weeks. Summers is Summers. And Izzo will be welcoming the No. 6-ranked recruiting class in the country to East Lansing, a class that features another incredibly athletic power forward in Adreian Payne.
Izzo won't lack for talent; if anything he'll have struggle to make sure all of that talent fits. This is a good problem to have. Michigan State won't just be Michigan State next year. It has a legitimate claim at a preseason No. 1 and, injuries and Kyle Singler's NBA decision notwithstanding, are a bona fide favorite to win it all next year.
All the stars are aligned. The NBA isn't poaching any of Michigan State's assets. And it all starts with Summers. This will be a very, very fun team to watch.