In what was a highly anticipated announcement just weeks after the completion of Michigan State’s basketball season, Spartan fans everywhere heard exactly what they wanted to hear.
Point guard Kalin Lucas and swingman Durrell Summers, two integral parts of the cog that is Tim Izzo’s basketball program, recently announced they would return for their senior seasons in an effort to bring a national championship to East Lansing.
This is obviously great news for the program and the entire university, although opposing Big Ten schools may say otherwise.
Lucas and Summers have catapulted the Spartans among the elite since coming into school in 2007. After losses in each of the last two Final Four appearances—coupled with a ruptured tendon which derailed Lucas’ stint in March way before he ever intended—both players talked to their families, coaches, and each other before making a decision they were comfortable with.
With Lucas still rehabbing from his ankle injury and Summers’ name being thrown around many NBA draft boards as a possible first-round pick, each player wanted to graduate and try to put all the pieces together for one more big run in the NCAA tournament.
It was a situation similar to that of Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson following the 1998-99 season.
Both players were juniors who had reached Final Fours but never won the national championship. They decided to return for one more shot to hear “One Shining Moment” blare over the loudspeakers as confetti rained upon them and their championship trophy.
The prayers were answered, the dream became a reality.
And now, as Michigan State is set to embark on arguably its biggest run since that national championship squad, next season could be that magical year in which everything comes together.
Raymar Morgan will be the biggest departure, but newcomers like Keith Appling and Adreian Payne shore up a highly touted recruiting class which will make the Spartans that much better. It will be a deep team and a skilled team, as well as one whose experience can carry them a long way.
The only question if whether hunger and desire will carry the team to unparalleled heights. That is a question which will take a long time to answer, but Spartan fans everywhere should be happy knowing that the crew is all back together.
And, who knows, it may be a team for the ages.