Last season’s failure drives Michigan State seniors

Syracuse, N.Y. — Some 250 miles away, almost exactly one year ago, Denzel Valentine sat in the Michigan State locker room just feet away from Keith Appling.

The Spartans senior had a towel over his head, his face buried in his hands.

Michigan State had just lost to Connecticut in the East Regional final, meaning Appling and fellow senior Adreian Payne would not play in a Final Four. The pair became the first four-year players under coach Tom Izzo who failed to do so.

It was too much for Appling to bear. He never lifted his head. He tried to answer some questions, talking about the shock he was feeling.

It was the end for him, the end for Payne. But it was also when the resolve of this year’s team began. – Read more at

%d bloggers like this: