Kalin Lucas and the new Fab 5
If you missed my story on Kalin Lucas in today's Oakland Press, I thought, in the context of how well he played in Saturday's 65-54 win over Pittsburgh, it was important to note that he is one of only five true freshman starters left in the NCAA tournament. There's also Memphis' Derrick Rose, who Lucas will match up against Friday in Houston, and UCLA's Kevin Love, two potential lottery picks, plus Villanova's Corey Stokes and D.J. Magley of Western Kentucky.
Of those five, Rose, Lucas and Love are the only ones who average more than 10 points or 19 minutes a night. Love (17.3 ppg) is one of four Naismith Award finalists (along with Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Kansas State's Michael Beasley) and Rose had as much hype as anyone entering the year, while Lucas has stayed mostly under the national radar (though not NBA scouts') until now. He had seven assists in MSU's first-round win over Temple, and scored 19 points (14 in the paint) against Pitt. His ability to break down defenses is Chris Paul-esque.
"I think how he was brought up, how he was coached and his own competitive instincts and nature are what's kind of separating him as truly one of the better freshmen," MSU coach Tom Izzo said. "I know there's a lot of good ones out there, but I keep telling him a lot of those great ones, they're home. And this is his time."