Thoughts on Korie Lucious

This might have been my favorite MSU hoops jersey style. Didn't last long. - Jonathan Daniel

Wanted to weigh in on the recent Korie Lucious comments.

I covered the 2009-10 and 2010-11 basketball teams for The State News, so I saw Lucious take MSU to the 2010 Final Four and get kicked off the team midway through the following season.

If you haven't heard yet, Lucious had some comments about MSU for BlackAthlete.net. Here's the excerpt from the Freep:

"I was smoking, I don't want to tell a lot of people that, but I was smoking a lot of weed at Michigan State," Lucious told the website. "That's the real reason I got kicked off the team, and I let my mom, family and friends down. To be honest, Michigan State was a great program - I'm not taking anything from coach Izzo or the team - but that wasn't the place for me to be."

Lucious went on to say Izzo "just didn't respect my game."

"Coach Izzo used to always call me an ‘And1' player, like even if I dribbled in between my legs and he would just yell at me and say, ‘This isn't And1 street ball,'" Lucious told the site. "I mean, it was to the point I couldn't shoot floaters or do nothing there, man, and he just put me in the position only to be a three-point shooter and didn't let me showcase my true talent."

Regarding the weed thing, I don't think anybody is surprised about that. College kids smoke weed. I don't want to start a whole debate about that. But there were always rumors about Lucious and weed, and you know Izzo wasn't going to kick off a kid midway through a season unless the player had crossed a line too many times. Remember, he had been arrested before the season for drunken-driving (He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge). Lucious has owned up to those mistakes, and that's good to see. (Please don't start sharing other rumors in the comments)

I've made a lot of choices in my life. Some good and some bad...but those choices have made me into the man I am today!! Wouldn't change my life 4 anything in the world...

Now, about the other things. Izzo frequently referred to Lucious' streetball skills, both in good and bad ways. A good way in the sense that he was fearless. That helped him guide MSU to Indy in 2010. As for the bad way? Here is Lucious' turnover rate in his three years at MSU: 32.0, 27.7, 24.6. Now, it was improving, but his TO rate at Iowa State last year was 27.8. Few things will drive Izzo more crazy than turnovers from his point guard. His turnover rate was higher than his assist rate in the first two years at MSU.

So Lucious was kicked off the team right before the Michigan game in January 2011 (an MSU loss that may have been the turning point for U-M). As a result, Keith Appling became the backup point guard for the rest of the year and has been learning the position since. Would keeping Lucious have made a difference? That 2010-11 season was a trainwreck from the very beginning. Kalin Lucas carried the team on his back the rest of the way, getting them into the NCAA Tournament at the last minute. While the leadership on that team has always been questioned, don't forget just how amazing Lucas played in the final few weeks of his career.

As for the next year, which would have included a senior Lucious running the offense, MSU won a Big Ten regular season and tournament crown and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA without him. You can't ask for more than that.

But what I keep coming back to with the last quote is recruiting.

Izzo runs a rigid system that has proven extremely successful on the team level, but MSU hasn't had a first-round pick since Shannon Brown and Maurice Ager in 2006. When you look at losing Jabari Parker to Duke and the subsequent struggling in 2014 recruiting, Izzo's inability to get kids to the NBA recently or let them "showcase their true talent" has surely hurt him. It always has.

Izzo doesn't get many one-and-done kids. He doesn't take a group of talented players, throw them out there and let them do what they do. He has a defense-first, rebound-second system that wins. This isn't Texas.

You can bet opposing coaches have already made this point to negative recruit against Izzo, and now they've got a former player saying the same thing. After all, coaches use Parkinson's disease to negative recruit against Texas A&M, which is despicable.

Will Lucious' comments make a big difference in recruiting? Probably not. But it doesn't help. It's good to see Lucious has apparently matured. In August, he signed with a team in Poland. Best of luck to him.

We'll always have Maryland.

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