Lorbek's departure leaves big hole

Erazem Lorbek's decision to go pro, left a huge ripple inside the MSU basketball program. The 6-foot-10 rookie from Ljubljana, Slovenia provided the Spartans with a great outside touch and some crafty inside moves. Now the Spartans need to look elsewhere.

Lorbek made his decision on Friday from Slovenia after consulting with his father, Radovan, who is a general manager of a professional European team. MSU head coach Tom Izzo was upset with the news, saying it came out of the blue and it's something that's become a part of college basketball. Lorbek will not be able to opt of the NBA Draft in June because he has signed with an agent. Lorbek averaged 6.6 points and 3.4 rebounds during 35 regular season games. In the NCAA tournament, Lorbek increased his output by scoring 12 points a contest and snagging 5.5 rebounds per game, to lead the Spartans in points per game. He was also selected to the the NCAA All-South Region team. Lorbek is the fourth player in three years to enter the NBA Draft as an underclassmen. Zach Randolph and Jason Richardson became first round picks, while Marcus Taylor, never made to the pros and is currently playing in the CBA. With the departure of Lorbek, the Spartans will no longer have a big man that can stretch the defense. Lorbek shot 46.2 percent from the 3-point line and that will be missed. Adam Ballinger, the other big man with range graduated, so the Spartans are left looking for someone to fill that void. Paul Davis has shown that he can mix it up down n the post and has the ability to shoot the 15-foot jump shot, but he's definitely more cut out for banging down low. The one player, who might fulfill that need is incoming freshman Drew Naymick. Naymick is comfortbable shooting from long range and could see even more minutes than expected because of Lorbek's departure. Other Spartans who will see increased minutes are red-shirt freshman Delco Rowley and senior Jason Andreas. Rowley a 6-foot-8 power forward is fit in the mold of Antonio Smith and Al Anagonye and has learned the system and received hours of experience in practice. Rowley averaged 16 points per game in his senior year in Indianapolis. Andreas was a solid role player last season. Though his minutes diminshed, he still came in and grabbed four or five rebounds and proved he hit can hit jumpers and free throws. If he can continue to give the Spartans some added offense and hustle he minutes will only grow. So even though the Spartans are losing a player with great potential, Izzo and company must look at what they have and make those players elite.

Spartan Nation Top Stories