I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130917/SPORTS0202/309170110#ixzz2fHxMmnrc
Izzo gets billed as the coach that "Gets it done without NBA players" but his recruiting numbers tell a different story. In the last decade(since Shannon Brown's 2003 class) Izzo has recruited four 5* players(by rivals) and twelve 4* players. Not one of them has gone on to the NBA.(Draymond Green, the lone Spartan from the era clinging to an NBA roster was a 3* prospect). Were these players grossly overrated, or did Izzo fail to prepare them for the next level? It seems like Shannon Brown really flourished as a player when he escaped Izzo's system. Or is that just selective perception?
As the title says, MSU is under investigation for their use of planes operated by the state of Michigan for recruting trips by Dantonio and Izzo. The investigation began after the Lansing State Journal ran a series on the planes and how they are utilized. Over a five year period, Dantonio and Izzo combined for 102 flights on state-operated flights. As you likely assumed, The University of Michigan can handle it's own recruiting travel arrangements and is not under investigation.
In addition to Friday's tilt with Michigan playing Kansas, we'll all be keeping an eye on the MSU vs. Duke game. For many of us it's a classic meteor game, with the upside being that one of them has to lose, but I thought the board might like to sound off on who to pull for.
I've pretty quickly concluded that I'll pinch my nose and pull for MSU. Partially for Big Ten pride, partially because I have a modicum of respect for the job Izzo's done (even if much of it was done via low-hanging fruit from the Ed Martin bushwa), and part of it because I know some pretty decent MSU fans. But mostly because I have an almost pathological dislike for Duke and the bulk of their fans.
I first came to dislike Duke because of Christian Laettner. I read a story in SI way back when where Cherokee Parks came to Laettner's dorm room on a visit, and Laettner cold-cocked him - and followed it up with screaming at Parks about how tough you need to be to play for Duke. At the time I thought "this guy Laettner sounds like a total jackass" and nothing I've seen since changes that view. A talented jackass to be sure, but a jackass.
And then there's Krzyzewski. When I was a kid, I bought into the "he's a class act and does things the 'right way'" image that's hard to get away from even these days. As I got older, I learned to dislike the cult built around him - it's an almost pre-Sandusky Paterno cult of personality. He's been successful, but seems like a weasel most times I see him. From his whinging about fans rushing the court after losing to VA, to his talking about recruiting kids with "character" but somehow overlooking recruiting areas like Detroit (Shane Battier doesn't count - Detroit Country Day sure isn't Detroit!), to defending thuggish moves from the likes of Gerald Henderson, to the American Express ad, and on and on.
And the Duke fans are generally wretched. Anyone who jaws about "Michigan Arrogance" or "Domer Arrogance" likely has not seen the pinnacle of douchebaggery. Whether they chanted about NC State's player's grandmother's death or not - the fact that it was believable to many spoke volumes.
(I have some respect for a few Duke alumns - Grant Hill, Tommy Amaker, and several on the academic side of the equation. But if Coach K. and Laettner are going to be your poster children, well - that's your poster.)
So yeah - MSU fans may have a large juggalo contingent, wear a bunch of Axe, burn upholstered furniture at bad times, and paint numbers on their chest representing days since U-M won in basketball right before they lose on national TV. But I'll be grudgingly pulling for them on Friday.
Who are you pulling for, and why?
Tom Izzo has announced that sophomore SF Brandan Kearney is transferring from the MSU program. He was a 3-star from Detroit Southeastern and was considered to be a key piece down the road for the Spartans.
Looks like Izzo will need to scratch even harder to fill a one- or two-man class for next year.
Unfortunately, the only link currently available is from the Freep:
As far as basketball goes, this upcoming season brings a lot of excitement and, let's be honest, raised expectations stemming from a co-big ten championship team in 2011-12.
I'm pretty sure the Badgers and Ohio [edit: I should not have forgotten to include Indiana here] will be there in the end, but I'm more certain our team will have to go through Sparty (perhaps more than once) to reach its goals.
Since it's summer and I'm bored, I did some research to try and determine how the teams match up for the upcoming season. I tried to state (within the parentheticals following a player's name) the position/s each player plays, with the earlier-stated position being the preference based on the player's history. For example "TREY BURKE (1 or 2)" means that he is ideally playing at the point guard 1 position, but he could play the shooting guard 2 position if needed; small forward is position 3, power forward is position 4, and center is position 5.
In general, I tried to group the guards into category A, the forwards into category B, and the "centers" (although bear in mind that there are few true centers playing in Big 10 basketball) into category C. The true freshmen have traditional lettering, while returning players have names in CAPS LOCK lettering. The bold lettering is for players expected to contribute meaningful minutes.
The matchups are below:
KEITH APPLING (1 or 2) and Garry Harris (2 or 1) and Denzel Valentine (1 or 2) and TRAVIS TRICE(1) (with DAN CHAPMAN (2) and KEENAN WETZEL (2) and JOE SWEENEY (1) in relief role)
TIM HARDAWAY JR (2 or 1) and TREY BURKE (1 or 2) and Nick Stauskus (2 or 1) (with COREY PERSON (2 or 1) and JOSH BARTELSTEIN (1) and [edit: Carl LeVert (2 or 1) and]Spike Albrecht (1 or 2) and ESO AKUNNE (2 or 1) in relief roles)
BRANDEN DAWSON (recovering from knee injury) (3 or 4) and DERRICK NIX (4 or 5) and BRANDAN KEARNEY(2 or 3) (with RUSSELL BYRD (4 or 3) and COLBY WOLLENMAN (3) in relief role)
Glenn Robinson III (3 or 4 or 2) and JORDAN MORGAN (4 or 5) and MATT VOGRICH (3) (with MAX BIELFELDT (4 or 3 or 5) in relief role)
ADREIAN PAYNE (5 or 4) and Matt Costello (5 or 4) and Kenny Kaminski(4 or 5) (with ALEX GAUNA (4) in relief role)
Mitch McGary (4 or 5) and JON HORFORD (healed from injury) (4 or 5) (with BLAKE MCLIMANS (5 or 4) in relief role)
What I notice is Beilein has only 3-6 players that can demand or expect major playing time (at least 20 minutes per game) based on previous production and/or recruiting hype. For Izzo, I think it's more like 7-9 players that could or will expect or demand that type of PT.
I think because of this distinction, Beiliein will have more freedom to operate Xs and Os with regard to changing lineups throughout the season. There's less pressure for him to spread a limited resource (minutes playing time) around. For example, he only has to give Stauskus and Spike minutes if they earn them. In contrast, the guards coming in for MSU are highly touted (by Izzo himself) and are competing against two proven guards in Appling and Trice. That group will test Burke and THJ for sure, but I prefer our team's tandem (with our freshman and uppperclassmen supporting them).
Group B is a little more difficult for me to analyze, however with Dawson still recovering, I have to give the edge to Michigan.
Our Group C is unproven and Sparty has talent and experience there. I have to give MSU the edge here. Hopefully we can close the gap with regard to rebounding and defensive shot blocking with our infusion of talent. [edit: McLimans, fwiw, is a player with length and experience.]
Both teams have 10 players that (most likely) will be able to give productive minutes. How many minutes does each player get? That's up to the coaches obviously, but there are only 200 minutes to give out in each regulation game.
Anyway, it looks like there will be some great games to anticipate. I wouldn't trade our group A and group B players for Sparty's or any other teams'. I think our group C has the most to prove though; I'll obviously be rooting for them.
I most look forward to seeing how Stauskus adjusts to the college game, and how well Horford bounces back after much time away. I have to believe by now, Horford can provide rebounding and defense, and maybe even put-backs and shot blocking.
Anyway, as I stated earlier, I'm bored, so I welcome any and all feedback on this topic. Thanks, all.
Izzo and his wife, Lupe, have donated $1 million to the MSU AD, most of which will go towards the football scholarship program. This is a pretty solid thing for Izzo to do, obviously, and it appears as if he's trying to keep the football program and the hype around it going by matching it with monetary support. Link?
P.S. - Everything in the article is fluff (and Izzo earned it, I guess), but this one still made me shake my head:
"Supporting the football team was an easy decision," Izzo said in a prepared statement. "Coach [Mark] Dantonio is a man of character, building a championship program."
Everything was good until that whole "man of character" bit, but that's just my opinion. And of course, Beat Sparty!