Durrell Summers' decision to return for his senior year following a breakout NCAA tournament was a major national storyline heading into the season. The Michigan State guard could have been a first-round NBA draft pick, yet chose to come back in order to graduate and make another run at the national championship.
And now it comes out that Summers was benched during Saturday's overtime win against Northwestern because he "wasn't very enthused"?
That's what Spartans coach Tom Izzo had to say about Summers yesterday in explaining why his second-leading scorer didn't play in the final minutes of regulation and the entire overtime period.
From the Grand Rapids Press:
"Durrell was not feeling like he was doing anything right," Izzo said. "And I don't know if he didn't want to go in, but he sure wasn't very enthused. And so, if he's not enthused, he's going to sit. If he's not enthused the next game, he's going to sit. If he's not enthused the game after, he's going to sit. If he is enthused, he's going to play. Pretty simple."
Summers was benched for much of the second half of last year's Big Ten tournament first-round loss to Minnesota -- a game in which ex-Spartan Chris Allen already was in street clothes, as a one-game disciplinary measure -- for lack of defensive effort.
Izzo said he believes Saturday's blip was just that, a temporary issue for a veteran who is upset about shooting too poorly and infrequently.
Izzo said the benching was not due the apparent lack of effort that caused last year's benching. The last time Summers sat, it seemed to do him long-term good.
But when inconsistent play leads to bad body language for a senior standout, it's quite simply not a great sign, especially for a team that entered the season with so much promise.