Forget the Pundits and Know This One Thing Is Certain: Kalin Lucas is the Big Ten Player of the Year!

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In a year where the Big Ten is the best it has been in a long time, there is are plenty of arguments to go around. Who is the second best team behind MSU? Who is the best defensive player? Who will get in the Big Dance? All of these questions are valid, but one award should be clear but; who is the Big Ten Player of the Year?

 

Some may say Ohio State’s Evan Turner, others will say Purdue’s Robbie Hummel but the answer is unequivocally Kalin Lucas. Period. End of story.

 

There is no player in the Big Ten that means more to their team than Lucas. While Turner did average more points per game (16.8 to Lucas’ 14.6) and Hummel finished sixth in the Big Ten in rebounding at 6.7 per contest, no single player has done what Lucas has.

 

At 14.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, and 39% shooting from beyond the arc, Lucas’ numbers are more than good enough to qualify for the award, but his development has allowed Lucas to become the best point guard in the Big Ten.

 

Last year Coach Izzo’s team was caught in a tricky situation, balancing the final year of Drew Neitzel’s one-man show with the very balanced incoming freshman class that included Lucas. That transition from the sole dependence on Neitzel in the clutch to a more team oriented style has been due in large part to Lucas.

 

Lucas hasn’t shied away from the spotlight this year. In fact, he has embraced the pressure in a big way. Despite his relative youth, he single handedly defeated Minnesota back in December on their home court at a time when the Gophers hadn’t lost a game. Just a couple weeks later Lucas went toe-to-toe with Kansas’ best player (and if it weren’t for Blake Griffin, the Big 12 Player of the Year) Sherron Collins and led the Spartans to victory over the now #9 Jayhawks. When the Spartans went down to Columbus, Lucas was the one to follow Durrell Summers’ big first half with 20 second half points of his own which led to the Spartans taking down the always dangerous Buckeyes. And most recently he kept MSU in the game against Indiana in an extremely hostile environment, putting in 15 points and wrapping up the Big Ten title.

 

Points and assists are all good, but when watching the Spartans play you can tell that Lucas is one of the leaders on the floor. His tactical on-court growth is obvious and has grown to the point where he is suggesting plays and sometimes even calling the offense. But the intangibles have been the biggest area of improvement for the lightning quick point guard. The Spartans rarely look out of control when under Lucas’ leadership; When Lucas is on the floor, no matter the score, no matter the time remaining, no matter the opponent, all is calm. Most impressively Lucas has done what MSU point guards before him, Marcus Taylor and Drew Neitzel, could not; guide Michigan State to a Big Ten regular season championship, with the chance of adding a Big Ten tournament title to that resume as well.

 

And lets not forget, he is only a SOPHOMORE!

 

For as much as Hummel and Turner mean to their respective teams, no one player has brought what Lucas brings consistently and, more importantly, no player took his team to a championship the way Kalin Lucas did.

 

He may not be that household name yet, but he is the best and most valuable player in the conference. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what makes a Big Ten Player of the Year.

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