Legacy of Sophomore Success

"I think Chris Allen and Durrell Summers are two of the better wings we've ever had," Spartan head coach Tom Izzo says. "They aren't even close to being the best yet, but I think they are potentially two of the better wing guys that have played here."

EAST LANSING — When one examines the history of the Michigan State basketball program, many great players come to mind.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Scott Skiles, and Mateen Cleaves were legendary college point guards, with Magic and Mateen leading the Spartans to the promised land of a national title.

These players rightfully received an abundant amount of attention, but the players that have run the wings for the Spartans deserve just as much credit. Players from Jay Vincent to Steve Smith to Morris Peterson to Jason Richardson have provided Spartans fans with memorable plays and performances that have helped the MSU program earn a glowing reputation around the country.

The tradition seems likely to continue with the sophomore pair of Chris Allen and Durrell Summers.

Allen (Lawrenceville, Ga) and Summers (Detroit) were both highly touted coming out of their respective high schools. Allen was viewed as a shooter and Summers a special athlete, but through two exhibition games and first regular season game, both have proven to be more than just the one dimensional ballers some labeled them as.

After less than ideal freshman seasons for the pair, they seem poised to make massive jumps in their sophomore seasons, much like Richardson, who went from coming off the bench to becoming an All-American.

Another Spartan great, Shannon Brown, also progressed in his second season, showing improved maturity and becoming a go to player in the NCAA Tournament as the Austin Regional's Most Outstanding Player in 2005.

Spartan coach Tom Izzo has seen progress in his current sophomore's games, and he feels the sky is the limit for the two.

"I think Chris Allen and Durrell Summers are two of the better wings we've ever had," Izzo said after Sunday's game. "They aren't even close to being the best yet, but I think they are potentially two of the better wing guys that have played here."

Coach Izzo's assessment had Allen in high spirits.

"It's been a lot of wing guards that have been here from Mo (Maurice) Ager to Shannon Brown, the list goes on, so that's a great comparison," he said.

The comments had the same effect on Summers.

"It's obviously an honor, because of the great wings that have played here, but it also tells you what Coach thinks of us rather than him getting on us and yelling at us," Summers said.

Allen was hampered last season due to a stress fracture in his foot. Prior to the season, Allen mentioned the injury made his entire leg weak with the loss of muscle definition. He is fully healthy now, and that enables him to produce more than just perimeter buckets for the Spartans.

Summers' goals for the season are playing more assertive on both ends of the floor and becoming more of a vocal leader. He doesn't seem to have a problem with the former, but the latter will come with time and confidence.

"Potentially, I think we could run the lanes with some of the top guys here and shoot it just as good and rebound," Summers said.

Allen and Summers have all of the necessary tools to go down in Spartan lore as some of the best to don the green and white, but those accolades will not come with only putting up good stats.

They have to put up W's in March, and, to guarantee a lofty legacy, into April as well.


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