Imagine a healthy Delvon Roe.
For Michigan State basketball fans, that would be a dream come true.
Roe came to East Lansing as a blockbuster high school star, but couldn't leave his knee problems in Ohio, where they originated. Roe had two procedures even before he suited up for his first game with Michigan State.
The nagging injuries led some to dismiss Roe as a bust, or a could have-been; however, many have patiently waited for the true arrival of the 6'8", ultra talented forward. His heart or talent were never questioned—it was always Roe's bad knees that held him back.
If you thought Roe's performance during the NCAA Tournament in 2010 was impressive, sit back, relax and watch how fast he comes out of the gate this season.
Roe told Spartan Nation.com that he was 100 percent healthy, and ready to go.
Yes, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo will finally get a chance to see the real Roe—the one Spartan basketball fans salivated over just three years ago.
"I'm feeling great," said Roe, "This is by far the best I've felt since my junior year of high school. And that's a long time."
Roe said his injuries were frustrating, but he played through them for the good of his team. Lugging around 230 pounds on two bad joints would have most sitting on the sidelines, but not Roe. He epitomized what a Spartan warrior was last spring, with his almost-heroic efforts.
"I'm here for the team," Roe said. "I'll do anything for my team. I'm 100 percent right now, and I'm trying to keep it that way."
If Roe is indeed 100 percent, like he said, the Spartans' front-court will be nearly unstoppable. Paired with Draymond Green, Roe adds a dimension of athleticism, while Green is known for his pure physical nature.
Green has the touch that Roe lacks, but when was the last time you saw Green fly toward the rim, from nearly eight feet out, to grab a board? Or to stuff a shot back in as it bounced off the iron?
Kalin Lucas facilitated much of the offense, which has been run through him for the last two seasons, and Korie Lucious had his turn when Lucas suffered his ankle injury against Wisconsin.
Lucious had turn over problems, but looked OK , and Lucas was expected to hit big shots night-after-night. With a stronger presence in the paint, the Spartans might not need Lucas' buzzer-beaters this season.
Derrick Nix has dropped weight and improved his footwork—both were needed. His workouts have paid off, and his teammates have said he seems better conditioned to play more than 10-12 minutes per contest.
Green demonstrated improved ball-handling skills in March, and Garrick Sherman clocked a few extra minutes, which helped him gain valuable experience. If Sherman can hit the "bunnies" this year, he'll be in great shape.
A faster Nix, a finally healthy Roe and another year of Green's consistency will take the pressure off Lucas and the rest of the guards.
That will also benefit newcomer Keith Appling, who is expected to play recently-dismissed Chris Allen's minutes. Pushing a freshman to get on the saddle too early can often times ruin their confidence.
Luckily, it doesn't look like that will be the case.
Look for a more physical style of play from Michigan State next season—if there is such a thing. That will also open up Durrell Summers, who played a lot of forward last season. Summers could fall into the role of shooting-guard, where he's also comfortable.
With Roe confident that he's finally up to par, and experience on its side, the Spartans' front-court may be the show to watch when they take the court this winter.
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