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The team's theater major, finally pain-free, is eager for a starring role

IT'S NO surprise that Delvon Roe, the Spartans' junior forward, recently changed his major from criminal justice to theater. For most of last season he was pretending to be something he wasn't: a perfectly healthy player with pain-free knees.

Roe had already endured two knee operations, including microfracture surgery on his right knee that required seven months of rehab in 2007 when he was a senior at St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio. During a drill at Vince Carter's summer camp two years later, he says he felt "something weird" in the same knee—"the same pain I felt in high school, in the same spot." Dreading another surgery and more rehab, he kept the pain to himself, gritting his teeth through practice and popping painkillers hoarded from his previous surgeries. By late January, Roe was suffering so much that he tearfully fessed up to coach Tom Izzo.

But Roe's next MRI produced good news: He only needed meniscus surgery, and it could wait until after the season. The bad news: Roe had to get a cortisone shot in his butt before every remaining game. He played through pain that he says was "15 to 20" on a scale of 10.

Since his surgery last April, Roe's progress has been rapid. "There's no pain," he says. "My first step is much quicker and more explosive."

Izzo hopes the rest of the country gets to see the player he swooned over four years ago—an exceptional athlete who is both strong enough to bang in the paint and quick enough to guard on the perimeter. "Nobody here has seen what Delvon can do," says Izzo.

Roe is looking forward to helping the Spartans reach their third straight Final Four. Now that he has found another outlet for his acting—he was set to play Charles the Wrestler in a campus production of As You Like It this month—and a cure for his pain, what we'll see on the court this year, he says, is "the real me."


Coach Tom Izzo (16th season)

2009--10 record 28--9

Big Ten 14--4 (T-1st)

NCAA tournament Final Four


Returning starter


Nov. 12 Eastern Michigan

Nov. 16 South Carolina

Nov. 22 Chaminade*

Nov. 23 Connecticut or Wichita State*

Nov. 28 Tennessee Tech

Dec. 1 at Duke

Dec. 4 Bowling Green

Dec. 7 Syracuse

Dec. 11 Oakland

Dec. 18 Prairie View A&M

Dec. 22 Texas

Dec. 31 Minnesota

Jan. 3 at Northwestern

Jan. 8 at Penn State

Jan. 11 Wisconsin

Jan. 15 Northwestern

Jan. 18 at Illinois

Jan. 22 at Purdue

Jan. 27 Michigan

Jan. 30 Indiana

Feb. 2 at Iowa

Feb. 6 at Wisconsin

Feb. 10 Penn State

Feb. 15 at Ohio State

Feb. 19 Illinois

Feb. 22 at Minnesota

Feb. 26 Purdue

March 2 Iowa

March 5 at Michigan

*Maui Invitational (final on Nov. 24)


This could be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, but it might not predict much. In November 2004, the last time Michigan State met Duke during the regular season, the Spartans lost 81--74. Four months later they dumped the Blue Devils 78--68 in the Sweet 16 en route to a Final Four appearance.

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DELVON ROE After his third knee surgery in three years, the 6'8" junior forward can at last showcase the talents that made Izzo swoon.