Before the Big Ten tournament, Michigan State guard Chris Allen and his coach, Tom Izzo, had issues. Allen, suspended for "violating team policy," was held out of Michigan State's Big Ten tourney loss to Minnesota. But the guard soon redeemed himself, playing through a foot injury he suffered in the first round of the NCAA tournament when Michigan State couldn't afford to lose another experienced guard to injury. The Spartans went to the Final Four. Allen fought through the injury. All was well in Spartan-land.
Now? Maybe not. It's just a rumor, one most Michigan State fans have rightly set aside until it becomes something more concrete. But that rumor is slowly gaining steam: Could Chris Allen transfer? In his Wednesday media availability, Tom Izzo didn't exactly dispel the notion:
“There is still one other player that’s up in the air and I have to make some tough decisions -- and I will -- and he’s got to make some tough decisions,” Izzo said. “So there might be one more coming or going. But to honest with you, that’s just the way it is right now. We should be able to make that decision in the next couple of days because we’ll do it before he leaves.
“What I’m trying to do is make sure that the program, that everybody in the program, is trying to get done what I think needs to get done. And sometimes, not everybody fits that profile. That’s not necessarily bad on them, it might be bad on me. It’s not necessarily bad on me, it might be bad on them. Or it might be it’s just not the right fit.”
That certainly sounds like someone is planning to transfer, or at the very least considering it. The strange thing, as The Only Colors points out, is that the idea of Allen transferring this offseason makes very little sense. Allen has made big strides in his past two seasons under Izzo. He's been to two Final Fours with the Spartans.
But even if Allen was dissatisfied with all that, even if his relationship with Izzo was in the dumps, a mere matter of logistics should keep him in East Lansing: He's a junior. Transferring would require Allen to wait an entire year to play again, at which point he'd have one year of eligibility left. Were he a freshman, or even a sophomore, this might add up. But the prohibitive nature of transfer rules throws Allen's cost-benefit all out of whack. He may not like his coach or his situation, but at this point in his career, is it really worth transferring over?
In the meantime -- and it sounds like this will be resolved one way or the other in short order -- Spartans fans will continue to hope this is nothing more than a rumor, a little offseason harumphing from a player who fully intends to come back for his senior season. Michigan State will be a very good team in 2010-11 with or without Allen, but his shooting provides yet another weapon what should be a loaded Spartans team. Why leave all that?