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January 31, 2011

Izzo on the lookout for guards

There's still nothing official -- and there won't be this season -- on Korie Lucious for 2011-12, but here's a clue: Tom Izzo said he's looking around for 2011 guards. "We're gonna be out recruiting some people," he said.

    Izzo was asked specifically about point guards, but he answered more in terms of overall perimeter depth. Asked if he might go JUCO, he said: "It would have to be an extraordinary situation, because I'm not bringing anybody in here who I'm questioning."

    Izzo said he feels good about point guard in 2011-12, with Keith Appling as a sophomore and Travis Trice as a freshman. Appling will get more grooming this season than he would have before the Lucious ejection, and Izzo had a lot of praise for Trice, whose father and coach played at Butler and Purdue. Izzo said Trice played extremely well over the summer against top competition in Chicago, and that he has a coach's mentality on the floor. He compared him to Indiana's Jordan Hulls.

    "I don't want to make him bigger than he is," Izzo said of Trice, "but coming out of high school Hulls was a good player (who became much better at IU). This kid doesn't shoot it like Hulls, but he can shoot it."

    Izzo continued: "We will be out looking for another guard, but we do have to realize that (Russell) Byrd coming back is gonna really help us too on that perimeter, and we'll be OK."

    If MSU does sign another player for 2011, that likely means Austin Thornton would be off scholarship again as a senior. I wouldn't expect MSU to add anyone unless a must-have opportunity presented itself, and that doesn't happen too often anymore this late in the process.

    * Izzo had more on Lucious. He was asked about his players having a tough time with the popular guard's dismissal. Izzo said when a decision of this magnitude is made, the other players, coaches, support staff, former players and others are consulted.

    "I won’t say they make the decision but I’d say they have a big part in me keeping somebody or not," he said. "And sometimes it’s worked out and sometimes it hasn’t. ...  I actually love Korie to death. But the mistakes you make ... he’s one of the nicest kids to talk to. He’s loved by every manager, everybody. He treats everybody great, he doesn’t big-time anybody. But nice people make mistakes too. And nice people have to be held accountable just like bad people have to be held accountable. … I think for the most part, most of us who have attachments, I think you kind of get mad rather than sad, because you've got an opportunity to do some special things and why blow that opportunity?"

    * Izzo also was asked about whether he regrets dismissing Chris Allen. Can you guess what he said?

    "No, I don’t feel any regrets with anybody," Izzo said. "Anybody who left this program, I don’t feel a regret because nobody ever leaves under one, two or three chances, so there’ s never a regret. The regret is guys didn’t grow up and understand what they needed to do.”

    * Izzo also said this: MSU is going to work on zone defense more often. And that there's a chance the Spartans could bust it out in games. Believe when see.

    * Stat of the day, from Matt Larson: In its first five conference games, MSU allowed 39.3 percent shooting overall and 35.3 percent from 3-point range. In its past four games, MSU is allowing 52.5 percent shooting -- including a nearly-obscene 49.3 percent from 3-point range.

    * Stat of the day, II: MSU did not receive votes in this week's AP poll. The last time that happened was the Feb. 19, 2007 poll. The day after that poll was released, MSU shocked No. 1 Wisconsin at Breslin en route to a late charge and NCAA bid.

    Oh, and here's the Indiana gamer. So who's up for a blizzard?

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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