I think most people remember last year's Final Four contest between Michigan State and Connecticut. If not, let's rewind back in time.
It was a game in which nobody really gave the Spartans a chance.
They were going against athletic guards like Kimba Walker, Stanley Robinson, and A.J. Price, not to mention big man Hasheem Thabeet. It was supposed to be a tall task stopping the giant in the center while containing the smaller players.
Michigan State never got that memo, holding Thabeet to a modest game in his standards. However, most watchers of the game (and especially Michigan State fans) remember one play from that game—Durrell Summers’ dunk on Stanley Robinson.
The play has become infamous in Spartan lore, and it was the most explosive play of Summers’ career. It looked like it may have been a precursor to the rest of Summers’ career at Michigan State, but things haven’t quite panned out that way.
Don’t get me wrong. Summers is a very talented player and probably only behind Kalin Lucas as the team’s best guard. But his play this season has been mediocre and not up to his standards. He has not been that electrifying player he was when he had that huge dunk.
Summers is averaging 10.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and less than one assist per game—statistics which should be higher for a high-flying athlete on a national championship contender.
Yes, Summers’ stats this season have been better than each of his first two seasons at Michigan State, as they very well should be. He is a junior and looked upon as a big-time player on the team.
The team needs him to be more involved, though. He can become complacent at times and not take control of a situation offered to him, such as taking a defender one-on-one or taking an open shot.
I don’t want to say Summers is not keeping up his end of the bargain because there’s a lot more room for improvement, but players like Lucas and Draymond Green have been carrying the team most games. The team needs another scorer, especially after scoring droughts plagued the Spartans in big games against Florida and especially North Carolina.
The Spartans can rebound and play defense, but scoring has become sort of their Achilles heel.
I’m not putting that burden solely on Summers, but with the talent he possesses, he should be putting up bigger numbers and being circled on opposing teams’ chalkboards.