Izzo Dismisses Korie Lucious For Remainder Of SeasonPosted by jstevrtc on January 25th, 2011
News came down late on Tuesday that Tom Izzo had dismissed junior guard Korie Lucious from the Michigan State squad for conduct detrimental to the team. In a statement, Izzo said, “Unfortnately, Korie Lucious displayed conduct detrimental to the program. My focus is on this team for the remainder of the season.”
Lucious also released a statement, in which he admitted, “I didn’t live up to the standards of the program. Unfortunately, I let my teammates, my coaches, and myself down, and I wish them the best for the rest of the season.”
Lucious had led the team in assists, dishing out 4.1 APG as well as contributing 6.5 PPG this year. He also led the team in assist-to-turnover ratio with a rate of 1.9.
So far, there has been no mention as to whether Lucious will be eligible to rejoin the team as a senior next season. He had endured some criticism from MSU fans this year regarding a tendency to disappear late in games, a sentiment that would belie his performance in his most well-known moment as a Spartan: his buzzer-beater against Maryland that sent Midwest 5th-seed Michigan State through to the Sweet Sixteen of last year’s NCAA Tournament:
Tom Izzo is known for how his Spartan squads improve throughout a season and usually overachieve in the NCAA Tournament. In his 15 seasons as head coach, he’s taken MSU to the Tournament 13 times, and those teams have “underachieved” their seeding only twice. Both of those were first-round losses — as a Midwest #7 against Nevada in 2004, and as a Washington-pod #6 against that history making George Mason squad in 2006. Despite their 12-7 record this year, many followers of the game still held out faith that the Spartans would eventually show their usual late-season performance spike, evidenced by the fact that MSU clung to the bottom rung of the AP Top 25 and tied for 23rd in RTC’s rankings this week (see upper left).
As part of their remaining Big Ten slate, Michigan State still has upcoming games against Purdue and Illinois in East Lansing, and on the road at Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Even with six Final Fours, two trips to the championship game and his title in 2000, to survive that schedule and build a record good enough to warrant a bid to the NCAA Tournament this year would be Izzo’s greatest achievement yet. Izzo has four other guards who play at least 11 minutes a game, so what Lucious brought to the team in terms of points and rebounds won’t be terribly hard to absorb among the other players. But the dark cloud and mental gut-punch that this suspension brings to the program in an already difficult year is bigger than any scoring or rebounding contributions that the Spartans will be missing as a result of Lucious’ dismissal.