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Matt Norlander

Michigan State gets its two best players back for 2010-11

The Dagger

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Tom Izzo can now have realistic hopes of getting to yet another Final Four. Yeah, what else is new, right?

But after falling to America's New Team in Indianapolis earlier this month, the Spartans can shake off that Butler loss by knowing they'll get Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas back for next year. Lucas, if you'll recall, missed most of the tournament after he ripped up his Achilles in the second round against Maryland. Who knows if MSU would have been able to take out the Bulldogs with Lucas on the floor. Sparty played beyond expectations without him, and Summers was at his most consistent during the March stampede as well.

It should also be noted, with all of the early declarations in 2010: neither player is seen as a sure-fire pick this year's Draft. But 2011? Currently tabulated as second-round picks.

Here's a great quote from Summers per the AP story linked above.

“I’ve got dreams of playing in the NBA, but I would rather win a national championship and graduate first,” Summers said in a telephone interview. “I want to accomplish all those dreams instead of just one.”

Lucas, a junior who really played and acted like a senior after a minor tiff with Izzo at the beginning of the season, averaged 15 points and four assists in 2009-10. He was also a reliable scorer in the final minutes of games. In fact, part of what made MSU's run to Indy so compelling was how the team managed in late-game situations without its premier decision-maker.

Summers (11 points, five rebounds) coming back can excite Spartans fans for the same reason they've loved him all along: potential. He's created some headaches, certainly, because you see him on the court and so frequently that body and skill set don't add up to true production. But that changed in the final month of the season. If it carries over to November, MSU can be considered a Big Ten favorite if Purdue doesn't get E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson back; we're still awaiting to see if those two will put off the NBA for another year and make Purdue a preseason top-five team.

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