Looking Ahead to Spartan Basketball 2010 and Beyond!

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Can the Spartans cut down the nets after a national title in 2011?  Photo courtesy of Kevin Krzeminski.

Can the Spartans cut down the nets after a national title in 2011? Photo courtesy of Kevin Krzeminski.

I absolutely love being charged with the task of writing about Spartan basketball. Nothing screams success quite like Spartan basketball and this coming season and subsequent seasons should be no different. 

 

Many of you read my weekly story on our website. In an August article, I picked Michigan State to win the NCAA championship in 2011. I still stand bye my bold prediction. Frankly speaking, the success of Tom Izzo’s program appears to be alive and well for years to come. 

 

In fact, Tom just recently wrapped up both the 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes. He will leave the door open for Indiana shooting guard Gary Harris, but barring a Harris commitment (or someone of his caliber) 2012 is done.

 

Here are the current commitments for both classes:

 

2011 MSU commitments

Branden Dawson 6’6” SF, Gary, IN

Dwaun Anderson 6’3” SG, Suttons Bay, MI

Brandan Kearney 6’5” SG/SF, Detroit, MI

Travis Trice 6’0” PG, Dayton, OH

 

2012 MSU commitments

Matt Costello 6’9” PF, Bay City, MI

Kenny Kaminski 6’7” F, Medina, OH

Denzel Valentine 6’5” G, Lansing, MI

 

There were a number of sports pundits that suggested Tom’s flirtation with the Cavalier’s job would hurt him in his quest to take MSU to the next level of elite programs. Let’s face it; Izzo’s program is already elite and his being courted by the NBA lets every kid in America know that they are getting the best coaching in the game when they commit to Michigan State. 

 

It is a machine. Within five years, it will be mentioned on equal footing with Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky. This is what Izzo has strived for since he was named the head coach in East Lansing. 

 

If the NBA flirtation cost Izzo some recruiting momentum, it surely hasn’t shown up in his commitment list. Every kid that Izzo really wanted, Izzo got. How happy do you think Crean and Painter are to have Indiana’s best player for ’11 (Branden Dawson) stolen from their backyard? 

 

How frustrating must it be for Beilein to think that Costello and Valentine are sure gets, only to have the ‘green machine’ gobble them up? Michigan State basketball is a power. In the Midwest, it is only rivaled by Ohio State football.

 

I expect Michigan State to come out early this season and assert themselves. Even though a number of players on MSU’s roster are recovering from injuries, they have enough horses in the stable to compete with anyone. Lucas is on schedule to return for the opening of practice after rupturing his Achilles. He doesn’t need to rush back too quickly with Lucious having proved in the tournament he has the ability to run this team. If Lucious is 100% the Spartans will be fine.

 

Durrell, Draymond, Delvon and Korie will be plenty of scoring to get the job done early. The December showdown with Duke at Cameron Indoor should feature #1 ranked Duke against #2 ranked MSU. It could be an early look at the 2011 NCAA title game.

 

Any way that you slice it, Michigan State is going to go into the Big Ten season ready for battle. I think that MSU’s depth will carry them to another Big Ten Championship. Like most years, 3-4 losses in the conference will probably win it. It is feasible to see Purdue winning the Big Ten with all of the upper classmen and talent they have returning. I still take the Spartans to win the NCAA tournament even if they finish second to Purdue in the conference race.

 

Spartan Nation was the first to report and broke the story that Chris Allen would not be returning to the program. We think the team will be better and that the team will have an amazing campaign. At least three of the four true freshman will play and guards Russell Byrd and Keith Appling should have an immediate impact.

 

I am looking for Durrell Summers to lead MSU in scoring. I expect Green to make first team All-Big Ten as the all around most versatile player in the conference. He is probably one of the better leaders in college basketball; that cannot be overlooked. Lucas should return to form, lead the Spartans in assists, finish second in scoring and challenge for the league’s MVP. Delvon Roe will be throwing down a lot of dunks and Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman are going to be some of the better post defenders in the conference. All of this, plus a loaded freshmen class, coupled with the nation’s premier coach add up to another banner. GO GREEN!! GO WHITE!!