Tampa- At the podium after MSUâ€™s 78-76 loss to UCLA, when asked about the game Kalin Lucas broke down and was at a loss for words to describe his emotions. Â The senior had put his all into coming back from a devastating Achillesâ€™ injury, and fighting through an up and down season which in the end forced him to play practically every minute of each game. Â More than anything he wanted to take MSU back to the Final Four and the shock that he had just worn the Spartan jersey for the last time was just setting in.Â
Draymond Green at the podium after producing just the seventh officially recorded triple double in NCAA tournament history with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists acknowledged that â€œ Kalin Lucas made him a much better player for three years, and that he was sorry that Lucas was not able to reach the 2,000 career point mark. Â I’m kind of hurting because he came up four points short of 2,000. And for everything he did for this program, you know, I get to come back for another year so I can be sad about the loss later. I think I’m hurting more about him not getting them four points.â€
For his career Kalin Lucas scored 1,996 points finishing fifth on the MSU all-time list, he had 558 assists sixth all-time, and is first all-time in free throws attempted (637) and free throws made (507).Â Lucas was voted Big Ten Player of the Year after his junior season, and voted as the team MVP for three straight years, just the seventh three-time team MVP in MSU basketball history.Â Lucas led MSU to Big Ten regular season titles his sophomore and junior years, and NCAA Final Four appearances both years. Â Lucas was a key part of MSU teams that were 11-4 in the NCAA Tournament the past four seasons.Â Lucas joins Scott Skiles, Mateen Cleaves, and Drew Neitzel as the only Spartan players who have produced 1,500 career points and 500 career assists. Â
Later in the locker room, Lucas said â€œI definitely enjoyed my teammates and coaches and it was a great four years. Us seniors wanted to get back to the Final Four in Houston. Â It was a tough up and down season, where we had to fight through injuries, and guys getting kicked off the team, but we kept fighting right to the end of the game tonight and kept our heads up.â€
Tom Izzo said he will appreciate Kalin Lucas contributions more in the coming days.Â He said that Lucas come back from the torn left Achilles injury received a year ago in the NCAA second round game with Maryland was truly remarkable.Â In talking with other coaches and trainers Izzo found that Lucas came back as fast and as good an athlete as anybody who has ever suffered that type of serious injury.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered the soft spoken Lewis said â€œI want to be remembered as one of the best point guards to ever come through here, as one of the best players to wear the State jersey.Â A guy that came out and competed as a warrior, had fun on the court, and entertained the fans.â€
Kalin Lucas has now handed the baton to freshman guard Keith Appling, also from Detroit, who will be the next great MSU point guard. â€œI have told AP (Adriene Payne) and Keith to get in that weight room and grind all summer, and work to be the best player they can be.Â Keith will have the ball in his hands next season so he needs to work as hard as he can work so he will be ready to run the show next year. They have to get back to the Final Four!â€Â