August 03, 2010
Wonder how sore Tom Izzo's side was during the drama that went on earlier this summer, when the Michigan State coached was contemplating taking the Cleveland Cavaliers job.
Chris Allen was no doubt a thorn, and he's now gone from the Michigan State basketball team. Looks like Izzo and Co. can go back to being fully comfortable. LeBron James aside, I think cases like Allen's were part of what made Izzo really mull the idea.
The to-be senior got the boot today from Izzo, who said:
"It's been no secret that Chris Allen's been in a tenuous position since spring," Izzo said. "There were multiple obligations that Chris had to meet in order to return for his senior season. While he did make progress through the summer, he has failed to meet all the obligations and will not be a part of our program this fall."
Allen was a schism enabler, if not creator, in that locker room. Early in March, when Allen was benched, Izzo was casually, almost shockingly critical of him. The dirty laundry was aired, but Izzo assured Allen he'd be welcomed back to the team if he could get through the hoops needed to be hopped through over the summer.
Someone at Michigan State was able to reel in Allen for a quote for the press release.
"Coach was straightforward with me about what I needed to do to remain a part of the team. Unfortunately, I didn't meet all the obligations. I have enjoyed my time at Michigan State and I appreciate all the support from my fans, and everyone associated with the program. It's unfortunate things didn't work out, but I'm leaving on good terms with my teammates and coaches."
No. 3 was No. 5 on the team in scoring, averaging 8.2 points per. He was the most prolific 3-point shooter, though, sinking a team-best 53 treys in 2009-10. Freshman Keith Appling will now get minutes, and Korie Lucious will be asked to take on an even bigger load, even though Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers are also back. Fortunately, as you can see and as is almost always the case, MSU is deep.
The Spartans lose the headache and gain the chemistry? That's the idea. If Izzo made a Final Four run with a fractured, injured team in 2010, the bar will be just as high with a fresh start and positive group in 2011.