EAST LANSING — Great coaches make good decisions. Sometimes they just take awhile.
As the first regular season game for Michigan State quickly approaches, coach Tom Izzo is still trying to decipher player combinations. Which players will be in the rotation? What lineups will produce the best results on both sides of the floor?
One dilemma any coach has to deal with is how much trust to place in freshman. Regardless of the level of talent a freshman possesses, their inexperience is destined to come into play at some point during the season.
On this team, one freshman that will play a vital role is point guard Korie Lucious. The Milwaukee native gives the Spartans a dynamic that most teams in the country would love to have, presenting three legitimate point guards that are comfortable on the floor.
Lucious has earned playing time in the future due to his performances in MSU’s exhibition games, when he averaged eight assists per game in two contests.
“He can run our team pretty well, he can make some plays,” Coach Izzo said recently. “Korie Lucious definitely puts himself in that rotation because he’s played pretty well in both games.”
Lucious also has the ability to score, which allows Izzo to play more than one point guard on the floor. Izzo mentioned that Lucious does need to improve on the defensive end, and Korie has noticed the attention that Coach gives him on a daily basis.
“He’s been on me everyday. Everyday in practice has been hard for me,” Lucious recently told GSN. “He’s real critical on turnovers for his point guard and getting everybody involved, so I’m just taking everything in right now and trying to get better.”
Even though Lucious does a good job of initiating the offense and finding the open man, he realizes that he is still far from where he wants to be. In order to reach that point, he highlighted one area where he needs to improve.
“Probably my decision making. The passes that I make,” Lucious explained. “There were some passes that were caught where my teammates had to come back to the ball a little bit.”
One problem that any freshman must confront is adjusting to the speed of the college game, and Korie feels that process is coming along well — in order for the game to slow down, he needs to slow down as well.
Senior Travis Walton thinks that the freshman is becoming acclimated to the speed nicely, based on a couple of skills that are paramount for point guards to have.
“He’s a great passer. He has excellent vision. He sees plays unfold before you even see them,” said Walton. “There was one time I was running on the wing…and the next thing you know I caught the ball and I was like wow, I didn’t think he saw me. So his vision is incredible.”
Lucious and the Spartans open up play Sunday evening against the Idaho Vandals at 6 p.m. in a sure-to-be rocking Breslin Center.
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