Pair of Michigan State Spartans men's basketball seniors developed well
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING — Kenny Goins walked on at Michigan State, turning down scholarship offers from Mid-American Conference schools.
Matt McQuaid signed with the Spartans, changing his mind after committing to play for Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown at SMU.
For both players, and coach Tom Izzo, it worked out well.
The Big Ten champions are seeded second in the NCAA Tournament in part because both have gone from being role players to standouts.
“I don’t think a lot of people believed in me, even in my personal life, but that’s the reason I came here,” Goins said Monday. “I was pretty much betting on myself. I made it big, I guess. Hit the jackpot you could say.”
Goins and McQuaid may have to do a little more than usual Thursday against 15th-seeded Bradley and possibly beyond because junior forward Kyle Ahrens is not expected to play again this postseason. Goins, who primarily plays power forward, could be used at small forward to make up for the absence. Ahrens injured his left ankle during the Big Ten Tournament final against Michigan.
“It’s a very, very bad sprain,” Izzo said. “He’s come back from the dead a couple times, but I’m guessing that he’s done.”
Michigan State has been done in the first or second round of the NCAA Tournament in three straight years for the first time with its Hall of Fame coach, who has won a national championship in seven trips to the Final Four.
The Spartans closed the season with 10 wins in 11 games, leaning on Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston along with their two seniors that earned honorable mention recognition in the conference.