Kalin Lucas is one of the main reasons Michigan State is known as a March Madness tournament powerhouse. The Spartans made the tournament every year that Lucas led them from the point guard position, and if not for a serious Achilles injury, Lucas could have established himself as one of the best guards in Big Ten history.
The four-star ranked point guard made an immediate impact as a freshman, playing 25 minutes per game on a 27-9 Michigan State team. Lucas led the team in scoring in the NCAA tournament that year, which ended in a Sweet 16 loss.
Poto Credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans
Now experienced and familiar with Tom Izzo’s formula, Lucas made a mammoth jump from his freshman to sophomore year. Lucas led the Spartans to a Big Ten Championship and earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors. This success carried over into the NCAA Tournament, where Michigan State fell to North Carolina in the finals.
Luckily for Michigan State fans, Lucas did not have a very high draft stock due to his lack of size (6’1, 190 pounds) and returned to school for his junior year.
Lucas picked up right where he left off, helping Michigan State capture a share of the Big Ten title and repeating as Big Ten Player of the Year along with Raymar Morgan. Unfortunately, this is when the young star began battling injury, and fought through serious ankle problems all year. In the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, Lucas ruptured his Achilles tendon, which he would never fully recover from. The Spartans still went on to make the Final Four that season (current Iowa State point guard Korie Lucious led the team on it’s miraculous run before being kicked off the team later on).
As a senior, Lucas still had success earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors, but he was clearly not the same player at Michigan State was eliminated in the first round of March Madness by UCLA.
After going undrafted, Lucas signed with Greek juggernaut Olympiacos. After just one season, Lucas was cut when the team signed former Texas A&M star Acie Law. Lucas now plays his ball with the Turkish club Banvit, with the team making the Sweet Sixteen of the Eurocup. You can follow him on Twitter @kalinlucas1