The recent selection of Kalin Lucas as Big Ten Player of the Year elevates him into a select group of former Spartans who's careers have all culminated with their numbers hanging high above the Breslin Center court. MSU has won the Big Ten POY award six times with five players:
Jay Vincent, 1981
Scott Skiles, 1986
Shawn Respert, 1995
Mateen Cleaves, 1998
Mateen Cleaves, 1999 (Coaches)
Morris Peterson, 2000 (Coaches)
So can Lucas rest easy now, knowing he is destined for Breslin immortality? Not quite...
All of the players who won POY were also national All-Americans, as was every other player who MSU has recognized.
Will MSU's Big Ten Championship help Lucas's case? Perhaps!
Of the ten players MSU has honored in the rafters, only two never won a Big Ten Championship at some point in their career. Those two were Scott Skiles and Shawn Respert.
Skiles made his case by leaving MSU as career leader in total points (since passed by Respert and Steve Smith), career field goals (passed by Respert), career assists (passed by Cleaves), career steals (passed by Cleaves), and career games started (now tied for 7th). Respert made an equally strong individual argument, and still leads MSU in career points, career field goals, and career 3 point field goals.
It's too early to tell if Lucas will be able to put up the career statistics to rival these other Spartan greats, but his POY award and Big Ten Championship have gone a long way to getting his number up high. If he can finish this season strong and earn recognition as a national All-American, it could be all but guaranteed.