Korie Lucious on Tom Izzo

Submitted by ClearEyesFullHart on September 18th, 2013 at 7:29 PM


“Coach Izzo, playing for him, it wasn’t the yelling or anything,” Lucious said. “It was the fact he just didn’t respect my game. Coach Izzo used to always call me an ‘And 1’ player, like, even if I dribbled in between my legs and he would just yell at me and say, ‘This isn’t And 1 streetball.’ I mean, it was to the point I couldn’t shoot floaters or do nothing there, man, and he just put me in the position only to be a 3-point shooter and didn’t let me showcase my true talent.”

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?



September 18th, 2013 at 9:02 PM ^

He gets them to play as a team but talent does not shine individually the way it does in Beilein's current system.

There is no question in my mind that Izzo re-recruits players hard to stay. Not saying that's a bad thing - it's just different from what Beilein does. Izzo basically takes guys who appear destined to go the league, gets them to put off playing in the league for as long as he can, gets them to play his way and their stock always gets killed in the process. 


September 19th, 2013 at 7:30 AM ^

Believe that. Randolf, Brown, Peterson, Richardson the were all guys taken early that you could argue really benefited from Izzo's form of refinement. I do however think his actual teams would be better if he took the handcuffs off them on offense. If msu is not making threes they are really easy to defend. Their offense lacks innovation to the extent I believe he may be getting close to really frustrating that fan base.


September 19th, 2013 at 11:05 AM ^

Morris Peterson I would agree with - he was a sleeper recruit and under Izzo he turned into a 1st-round pick.  But the rest, weren't they all one-and-dones?  I'm not sure how much you can attribute to coaching in those cases.

Izzo wins - he's very good at that, and that's what's most important for him and his fans.  When it comes to player development I don't know to make of his record.  The last few years, It seems like a lot of his blue-chip guys haven't panned out until they're upperclassmen, which is good in a way (they stay in school) but by the time they do, their stock is lower (in part because the NBA now hates college upperclassmen).   Adreian Payne was a 5-star guy who didn't play like it until he was a junior.


September 19th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

stayed for two years and I think Brown stayed for three, at least two.  And Payne was really raw when he came in, more so than most people including myself thought when he was being recruited.  I think an argument could be made that Izzo has made Payne into an NBA player even though the NBA talent was always there.  In any case, I still don't expect State to be all that good next year despite what they have returning, and I think at that point the folks inside Breslin will start to grumble considerably.  Izzo appears bored to me.  What used to look like passion now looks like actual pain and he appears outright annoyed at his players as opposed to really "motivational."  I think Izzo may call it a day before many expect.  The guy has to be getting worn out.


September 19th, 2013 at 6:31 PM ^

Until recently, every senior class under Izzo's "leadership" was recruited when Izzo had the entire state to himself in recruiting due to the fallout of the Ed Martin scandal.  Now that Izzo is having to compete against Michigan for regional and instate recruits, we are seeing what a "great coach" he is.  

Before the "great migration," Michigan was a fertile basketball recruiting state.  For Izzo to have the talent he had and not get more of them to the NBA reflects poorly on him as a coach.  Tom Izzo didn't take his personnel to the Final Four; his personnel took Tom Izzo to the Final Four.


September 18th, 2013 at 7:38 PM ^

Shannon Brown was very good while at MSU. I wouldn't say he flourished away from MSU.

Regarding Draymond Green, the way I remember it, he was waiting for an MSU offer but didn't have one. Beilein actually courted Draymond and offered a Schiller first. Only after that did Izzo become interested and ended up getting Green. So IMO you can partially credit his "3 star success" for Beilein identifying the talent below the radar. Maybe Izzo needs to offer more Beilein targets. ;)


September 18th, 2013 at 7:41 PM ^

Couldn't even take the most modest of coaching. I'm serious.

Maximizing an individual's talents while blending him within a team game is the ultimate balancing acts a BB coach has to do. Izzo's has a lot of team success; reading a transfer whine about not having his individual talent maximized is, well, not very interesting, you know?


September 18th, 2013 at 11:43 PM ^

I found it interesting because you don't see a lot of players(transfers, grads, dropouts or otherwise) with the guts to speak their mind about Saint Izzo. I think it was pretty brave of Lucious to open up about his drug problem as well. Just out of curiosity, if this topic isn't very interesting why did you bother to read it?


September 18th, 2013 at 7:51 PM ^

LOL...wasn't this kicked out of the program because he couldn't say no to the sticky icky icky.

Watching their games problem was he turned it over a lot, just as he did at ISU for the one year he was there. Hell, his TO's late in the game were part of the reason Craft and OSU got back into that game in march.


September 18th, 2013 at 7:57 PM ^

Izzo screams too much and (by appearances) seeks attention too often for me to like him. Can't imagine wanting to play for him, not surprised that some of his former players don't have great memories ...

- - -

I still don't think he has generally gotten recruits consistently at the level of Duke/UNC/Kansas. He didn't get to six Final Fours by accident (though he had great bracket luck for at least a couple of them).

- - -

Shortly we'll see a few comments to the effect of "Izzo completely locked down the state when Mo Taylor rolled the SUV."

Didn't hurt, but that ignores LaVell Blanchard, Lester Abram, Dion Harris, DeShawn Sims (maybe too late in the game to include here), and at least a couple others. Izzo got the Flintstones, yes, but some of his key players (Zach Randolph, Alan Anderson, Shannon Brown) were from elsewhere in the Midwest.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:14 PM ^

It's not just the SUV incident/accident (which gave him Mateen Cleaves), but the Ellerbe hire that really set the stage for Izzo's rise.  Ignoring that would be just as ignorant as ignoring the fact that Izzo brought his squad to multiple Final Fours.  Yeah, he got a giant gift with Ellerbe, but he took advantage of it where many others might not have.


September 19th, 2013 at 8:30 AM ^

Reading is fundamental.

"Give credit where credit is due"?  Noting that he brought multiple teams to the Final Four isn't giving credit?  He did indeed get lucky with Michigan's problems (especially Ellerbe), but this isn't an either/or proposition.  

snarling wolverine

September 18th, 2013 at 8:42 PM ^

Well, you can't completely lock down the state of Michigan in basketball recruiting - it produces a lot of talent, and basketball recruits often want to play right away, so even a elite program is going to miss some guys.  But our implosion definitely helped them build their own program.  For most of the '80s and '90s, we were the prime destination in recruiting.  That stopped after the rollover.  We got the occasional big-timer after that but it wasn't consistent.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:55 PM ^

So UofM has had four guys in about a ten year span. Blanchard from Pioneer and the others pretty close by. Getting one big guy every two years isn't very good for how talent rich the state was.

For MSU you are also forgetting Marcus Taylor, Paul Davis and Drew Neitzel to name a few other big time players from the state.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:05 PM ^

Quite a bit of this came from this interview, if I am not mistaken - HERE

If anyone is interested, he does provide his own insight into the differences between European and American interpretations of basketball, salaries abroad and what NBA teams he believes would fit his game. I presume this means his ultimate wish would be to come back here. 



September 18th, 2013 at 8:09 PM ^

...and Draymond Green is getting a start in an NBA playoff game while Korie Lucious is the point guard for one of the worst teams in the Polska Liga Koszykówki.

But at least they let him shoot the floater over there.


September 18th, 2013 at 8:34 PM ^

I'm gonna go out of a limb here and say that Tom Izzo may know what he is doing and Korie...well... not. I have heard similar arguments about coach K in the past yet both coaches keep putting guys in the NBA. Where is Korei playing?

Nevermind, I don't care.


September 18th, 2013 at 9:38 PM ^

So, basically, Izzo wouldn't tolerate him playing streetball, and wouldn't put up with him trying to smoke half the rainforest. Somehow, I don't think this one is on Izzo...


September 19th, 2013 at 8:46 AM ^

sation, the part that may resonate with recruits. You can't argue with the guy's success, but a) does a player want to be shouted at? b) does he want to play in a system that doesn't translate well c) does he want to play in a system where the game itself is not a pleasure, and d) for a guy who doesn't get players into the league?

These are legitimate questions. I also think that a coach who is denigrating "streetball" is possibly less than the most sensitive guy around, a fact that players, over time, may take note of.  


September 18th, 2013 at 10:20 PM ^

a lot of people on this board are not taking into account that Izzo recruited him because of his talent. if didn't like his talent and didn't think it would fit your program don't recruit him. In the same way players need to be more diligent in there selecting of a school. James Young was a real talent out of Michigan and Belien really didn't recruit him. John Wall didn't get a real look by UNC. Every top talent doesn't fit all programs.


September 18th, 2013 at 11:40 PM ^

Kind of fascinating that Izzo recruits so well and creates such great basketball teams but does such a terrible job of creating NBA players.

When you look at his recruiting and then the number of final fours he's made, you'd think he's pumping out first rounds like a madman but it seems like he's just making great teams, not great individual players

Prince Lover

September 19th, 2013 at 2:23 AM ^

I hate Izzo more than any other sports figure out there. He loves himself more than his kids do, he acts like a baby on the sidelines, he calls out players in the media, he criticizes students for not showing up to football games, he talks politics to the media as if coaching gives him credibility, he makes his midnight madness all about himself and his grand entrances, he has the napolean complex in full effect, and I bet he kicks baby seals.
Please let me know what I'm forgetting, because I know there are 5 or 6 more things that I am.
I gladly root for Ohio St and call them Ohio St whenever they play sparty. Thats how much I hate Tom Izzo.

His Dudeness

September 19th, 2013 at 9:16 AM ^

Let me start off with my personal opinion; Izzo is a fantastic college coach. One of the greatest of all time.

One of his biggest flaws though is micro-managing to the point that the team and the players are scared to play. They are constantly looking over to the bench and just scared shitless of making a decision on their own. It has cost them in the last few years, in my opinion.

In basketball sometime you have to let the players just play. It is fine to set up a basic construct of an offense or defense, but not every play has to be a half court set-up play. SOmetimes you want the players to ad lib and pick their spots to make plays. Izzo doesn't allow that and he has always had the talent to. It's almost like putting a filter on his team. Again, my opinion.


September 19th, 2013 at 11:25 AM ^

Izzo actually purposefully targets guys whom he thinks will be good college players but whose ceilings will keep them out of the lottery picks. He likes players who are bigger than their position norm and guards who have enough athleticism to penetrate against college kids but not the NBA. It's a strategy, since those 5-stars are the kids who'll stick around more than a season.


September 19th, 2013 at 2:43 PM ^

Izzo's job, frankly, is to win college games, and he does that well.  But the MSU identity has always been turning "coal into diamonds" (look at Dantonio proponents), but in Izzo's case that really isn't true.  He recruits a type of player that probably peaks in college, but that's all that matters.  He doesn't turn crap players into studs; he turns pretty good HS players into pretty good CBB players within the confines of his system.

If you are a top-flight recruit, you probably won't consider MSU if your goal is isntant NBA showcasing.  He tried to be in the Kentucky game a bit in the early-00's and it burned him (see Richardson and Randolph), so he's shyed away for the most part since.

It's why when he plays teams like UNC, Kentucky, Duke, etc., with good talent and NBA-ready players, he gets housed more times than not.  I've always felt his system relies on college basketball players not being as talented as they used to be, so if you have a system (heavy on rebounding and defense) that is employed properly, you'll usually beat teams that lack such an identity.