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February 28, 2011

'This isn't the Pistons'

Can you guess the primary topic of discussion at Tom Izzo's weekly presser today?

    Durrell Summers said this after MSU's 67-47 loss to Purdue on Sunday: "We've tried to fix the defense, we've tried to fix the offense, (and) the energy. Maybe it's something else. It's not my place to say certain things. We've tried to fix everything with us."

    Summers also expressed some frustration over MSU running fewer plays for him.

    Izzo, not interested in a media back-and-forth but compelled to respond in some way, said this today: "I got some calls on what he said. Um, this isn't the Pistons. You know, guys aren't pros. Thirty minutes a game is 30 minutes a game. Not gonna get into a (verbal) war of things, but my job is to give guys opportunities. And his best friend's the point guard. And we don't not run plays for him, but people have to produce. ... A coach's job is to try to give a player an opportunity, and 90 percent of that is with playing time. He's definitely averaged over 30 minutes a game his entire senior year.

    "I think Durrell's frustrated too and we're frustrated. But there's never a time when we're not trying to get him shots. He's got to make them."

    On his Pistons comment: "When players see what's going on, I think everybody just thinks they can say what they want. And it's sad what I think has happened. I'm not blaming Rip Hamilton or (John) Kuester or anybody else, but I mean it's sad what you see going on in sports right now. And I think when players say stuff about coaches, or vice versa -- there should be no vice versa, coaches should be able to tell a player what he's doing right and wrong. And all I can say is, my job is not to get people shots, my job is to get people playing opportunity, and then they make whatever they make of it. But throughout the years, our two guards, threes have had 90 percent of our shots probably. That isn't gonna change. It hasn't changed. People have to be active and do the things they have to do."

    A reporter told Izzo that Summers said he feels blamed for the way this season has gone.

    "Well, I'll take all the blame for the way the season's gone, and that way I'll take it off his shoulders," Izzo said. "But when you are a star coach, you've got to coach to that level. When you're a star player you've got to play to that level. I mean, this isn't as adversarial as you think. I mean, did I take offense to some things that I heard? Maybe a little bit. But do I blame him? Not at all."

    Wednesday is senior night for Summers, Kalin Lucas and Mike Kebler, and Izzo said fans should consider Summers' four-year contributions -- including two Final Fours and two Big Ten titles -- not just the difficult way in which his career is ending. MSU will do the ceremony after the game, as has been the case the past two seasons, and it's likely that Summers and Kebler will both start next to Lucas.


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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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