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October 18, 2011

MSU basketball media day

Some quick hits off Tom Izzo's presser:

    * He briefly mentioned last year and said there were "more than one or two reasons for it," mentioning injuries. Also said he has studied the Tigers and Lions in terms of intangibles. And on the bad side of that, the Red Sox. "Hopefully beer and chicken is out of our locker room this year," he joked.

    * Preseason expectations: Izzo said when it's a supposed down year and you're still around the top 20 and having Midnight Madness on ESPN, "it tells us a little bit of where our program is."

    * Draymond Green will be a "point forward sometimes, a shooter sometimes, a banger sometimes."

    * Izzo on Nix: "All I can tell you is, where we were last year, we're miles ahead, and we were in pretty good shape."

    * Keith Appling will play point but "we need him to score points."  Said he'll be surprised if Appling isn't Big Ten Defensive POY.

    * Izzo believes Adreian Payne is ready for a breakout season. He's 15 pounds heavier with muscle and has had major "emotional growth."

    * Branden Dawson reminds Izzo of Raymar Morgan but "maybe with better hops." He'll compete to start right away. The other freshman Brandan, Kearney, needs to get stronger and knows it, but has done good things.

    * Travis Trice fulfills the Jud rule of recruiting sons of coaches whenever possible. Izzo likes what he's seen from him. Like Kearney, needs to add strength as quickly as possible.

    * Anthony Ianni "has got to be our banger, has got to give us a couple minutes" at times. The Okemos product is on scholarship for his senior season.

     * Izzo spoke more about the transfer rule that brought Wood. He worries that a situation like Russell Wilson doing so well, for example, may lead to people recruiting players off other campuses. He said he and Valpo coach Homer Drew handled it the way it should be handled, though.

    * Izzo said he feels as good as he has in three years entering a season (three years ago, of course, Walton and Suton were seniors and the Spartans were about to make that run to the Final Four in Detroit). And without naming anyone, he said MSU had some people "who maybe didn't appreciate the past." Hmmmm.

    * On his own coaching approach last year, Izzo said he "did ease up a little bit" considering the circumstances (Kalin's injury, for example). "When you're an animated coach, you leave yourself open for more, I guess, criticism." Also said that at times last year, "I wasn't me. I've got to be me."

    * Asked whether the chemistry problems have changed Izzo's approach to recruiting, he gave an emphatic no.

    * Went back to Nix and Payne and said "there's just a different aura and attitude about them." This was in response to a question about Green's leadership. Izzo said Green and Goran Suton almost got into a fight on the third day of practice, but then Suton took Green under his wing. Now Green is eager to do the same for MSU's young bigs.

    * Asked about the Schwartz-Harbaugh flap (Izzo is friends with both), he was diplomatic: "I think both guys are volatile in their own respect and I just look at it, that's the nature of the game and that's what happens sometimes." Said it's "almost comical" how often the clip has been on TV, considering it wasn't even a fight.

    * On Appling at the point or two: "How good is Wood, how good is Trice and how good is Dawson?" That will determine the distribution. Trice had a rough couple days early, got better, hias been "a little bit nicked up in the last couple days."






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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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