Spartans land high profile prep guard Lucas

Thank goodness Kalin Lucas grew up a Spartan fan. It paid off for Coach Izzo as Lucas gave a verbal commitment to Michigan State to be the point guard of the future for the Spartans.

EAST LANSING - Thank goodness Kalin Lucas grew up a Spartan fan. It paid off for Coach Izzo as Lucas gave a verbal commitment to Michigan State to be the point guard of the future for the Spartans.

Lucas, a 6-foot-1 165-pound penetrator from Orchard Lake (MI) St. Mary's, known for his hesitation and cross-over dribbles, is the No. 23 prospect in the nation for the class of 2007, and No. 4 point guard overall.

It is a well known fact that success in the NCAA tournament is predicated on great guard play, especially at the point, and in fact, MSU's National Championship's were largely influenced by the play of Magic Johnson, and Mateen Cleaves.

Arguably, MSU has not had a player who can penetrate, and take it to the basket like Lucas since Cleaves, who is known to blow by defenders for easy buckets with his great quickness and deft dribbling.

Although Kansas and Illinois were involved in his recruitment, for the most part, it was a Michigan-MSU battle for his services, and his parents were involved.

Lucas previously told, "My parents would like it if I stayed in-state anyway. They always say stuff like 'You want us to come to see all of your games, right?' or 'You want to be able to see your little brother grow up don't you?'. "

Kalin gave a hint recently he was leaning toward MSU with these comments, "Michigan and Michigan State, well, first off I think the players are the same, and the coaches are the same, but Coach Izzo has a lot of wins, and he made it to the Final Four last year, so I think MSU has a little more than UM."

So why did he commit this early? "I didn't see any reason for me to wait, I figured I'd just go ahead and do it right now." said Lucas.

"Coach Izzo is a man of his word," continued Lucas. "He's a great person and every time I went up there he convinced me and my parents. I love him and he's a great person."

"I think with me already committing that I can help with (the recruitment) of Durrell Summers, and Josh Southern. I think those guys might want to play with me."

Lucas recently had a legendary battle recently with UM commit Alex Legion, with Lucas scoring 19 points, and Legion scoring 20 points. Both had their moments and struggles, but clearly Lucas is a guy that makes his teammates better like past greats Johnson and Cleaves.

"I'm going to bring the ability to push the ball up the floor. I think I do that really big and that's what Michigan State does. I get my teammates involved."

Like Cleaves, Lucas is also a former football player who plays with toughness. He is a guy who likes to lift weights, and runs cross country, so endurance is not a problem. He also trys to emulate his game after former Wake Forest star Chris Paul. In fact, his teammates call him "CP".

Strength was once the weakness of his game, but no longer, he is much stronger, and gained confidence playing at the 2005 Hoop Jamboree where recruiting guru Dave Telep predicted he would become a "household name."

Lucas averaged 22-points and six assists last season.

My take is that this is an important signing for MSU if they want to continue to make the kind of long runs in the tournament they are hoping for...and perhaps go a little farther than they have of late.

Lucas has great ability to create and is the consummate team player, putting team play ahead of individual stats, again, very similar to Magic and Cleaves in that regard. He is also excellent in transition although at times he could finish better.

His outside shot needs some work as well, but that will come with time, so this a solid recruit for MSU. MSU needs someone to run the show, and get people involved, and Lucas looks like that kind of player, and the Spartans are certainly elated to have him.

(Dave Telep and Sam Webb contributed to this story)

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