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Michigan State happy to see Lucas, Summers gone?

Jul 20, 2011, 9:30 AM EDT

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Didn’t see this one coming.

Nine college hoops coaches spoke with SI.com’s Seth Davis last week to “size up their 2011-12 teams,” which made for some interesting reading.

It covers the usual suspects – Duke, Louisville, Ohio State, among others – along with some you might not expect like Belmont and Oklahoma.

Yet the section on Michigan State opened with a statement by Davis that surprised me when I read it, and surprises me now:

Tom Izzo wouldn’t come out and say it, but if you read between the lines it’s not hard to discern that there’s a part of him that thinks losing Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers will amount to addition by subtraction. That is not an indictment on the character of those two youngsters — and nobody would claim they lacked talent — but the chemistry on last year’s team was clearly lacking. A fresh turnover of leadership may be just what Dr. Sparty ordered.

Davis’ larger point is on target: Michigan State needs a fresh start after a 19-15 season. No denying that.

But to say that Lucas and Summers will go down as addition by subtraction? I know neither closed their Spartan careers on a good note, but I never would’ve thought of either as significant problems to team chemistry. Maybe Summers never lived up to his potential and Lucas tried to do too much on offense last season, but bidding them a happy adieu seems strong.

I have no doubt Izzo’s happy to put last season behind him.  But moving on would be easier to do with Lucas running the point again. 

Even better would be a healthy frontcourt that hits the boards like an Izzo team usually does and manages to score without too many issues. Those were the problems in ’10-’11. If there were chemistry issues, they stemmed from those issues and losses.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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