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Michigan State vs. Georgia Post Game Quotes

Oct. 29, 2017

Recap |  Box Score

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

Opening Statement…
I would be really stupid to not thank, first of all, all of you for coming. This was a unique thing when you can put something of this magnitude together in three days, four days, actually two days in the conception of the final product, because it was done by Thursday night or Friday morning, whenever it was. I want to thank all of the people from Van Andel, but also Grand Rapids people. I see Peter here and Joan. He’s been telling me for twenty years about this place. It’s special. We had dinner last night and he told our team that life is about giving back. Today we got to be a part of maybe helping some people that we didn’t have as tough of a time as they’ve had. It was a great trip. We had a great meal. We took our players down to the Rosa Parks statue today, circle. You just don’t realize that some of the problems that you have in the world are because sometimes kids don’t know. We made them sit there and read everything on her and took a great picture. I’d say that those things are all great. But, then the game. The game was frosting on the cake. To have a game of that quality this early in the season. Mark’s (Fox) a good friend and a good guy and he’s got maybe as physical of a team as we’ve played in years. I think we can be pretty physical at times. Jaren (Jackson Jr.) realized that this isn’t high school anymore. He’s trying to grab and wrestle guys because he’s not quite strong enough yet, but those are all the things you hope to learn in the preseason. If I took our first game and our second game, that’s what you kind of hope for. The mission of the year is to get better everyday from the day before. I thought that defensively, on the ball screens, we struggled so much in the last game. We did a much better job. We did a better job of moving the ball. I thought our guards at least looked for their shots a little more. Langford played much better. McQuaid still has a ways to go, but was better. The only problem I have with Miles Bridges is that he’s too unselfish. He took maybe a shot or two that he shouldn’t, but he didn’t take six that he should’ve. What a great tribute to that kid. Coming back and being like you are and still being one of the more unselfish guys. Probably played him a little too many minutes. I got Xavier (Tillman) in there and he did a great job. It wasn’t because he’s from Grand Rapids, it’s because he deserved to play. I thought Cassius (Winston) did a very good job. I’d say that for 15 minutes in the first half we played pretty good, they just played as good or better. In the second half I thought for 15 minutes we played really good, and the last five I thought we were really poor. Which means that I have a way to earn my money this week and start getting after some guys. We just got a little casual and had some turnovers. In general, great game for us. Great game for Mark and for them. As he said, that was worth two weeks of practice. Thank you Grand Rapids. The crowd was, I don’t know. I’m either going to call this place Breslin West or I might have to call ours Van Andel East because of the way they rose up, the introductions, they made it a big time atmosphere and I’m really appreciative of that.

On Coach Fox believing Michigan State is the most complete team…
Well I think we will be more complete. We got 15-point leads and then threw it away and didn’t do some things. We still got Gavin Schilling, he’s just figuring out how to play; Ben Carter, those guys missed nine months so they’re back to new. Still trying to get (Matt) McQuaid and them playing. We’ve got some subs, we’ve got some people moving around. We had a little problem today because they were so big. They went 6-8, 6-9, 6-9, 6-6, 6-4 there to start the game. We were guarding them with a couple smaller guys. It made our substitutions a little different because they were a very big team, most of it. That was good for us too because that will be able to help us. I’m not sure, other than Purdue, we’ll play many teams more physical than that team. I thought we… We only out-rebounded them by two. We said at half-time, this is a damn good team and they were.
 
On Miles (Bridges) taking the game over at the end of the first-half…
When he did we went up nine. It was kind of a two, three-point game. It’s a problem but it’s a nice problem. We wanted him to get to the basket more, he did a better job of that. We wanted to get to the free-throw line more and we got 28 free-throws today. Although they were 22-of-24 so they did a good job there. We wanted to get our assists up, then on 26 baskets we had 19, we did a better job there. The turnovers were 14. For awhile there until we learned to play together, because we’re playing so many different line-ups you don’t have a good feeling for each other yet. That’s going to take a little time. That’s why we got a couple weeks left before our first game. Miles is… It’s just fun to watch him. No turnovers, three assists, 21 points, 10 rebounds and his coach is calling him too unselfish. Nice problem to have.
 
On Yante Maten…
Really good. I should be fired for letting him get out of this state and a great kid. He seems like a great kid. I just love the way he plays. He doesn’t say nothing to anybody. My kind of guy too. He’s just physical, doesn’t complain. He was… Man. If he’s (Coach Fox) voting for me number one or whatever he said, Yante will get some votes from me for whatever awards he’s up for at the end of the year because I watched him a lot last year, special guy then. Some thought he was going to leave early. In my humble opinion he shouldn’t have and he didn’t. He’s bounced back. When you can be that big and strong and still shoot 90 percent from the line… Yeah that’s a good team. I think we all should put the pressure on them because they are a good team and I know he’s got some things to work on as I do too but they’re going to be good I think, I really do.
 
On the support and following from MSU fans to make this event happen…
Like I said, Rich did a great job here, Mark Hollis and our group. People worked hard to get the floor here and all the things they had to do. I don’t say it because he’s here but… I went for a long jog with Mike Garland this morning and I went and saw all these different statues around town and Peter’s either involved or involved in that. I think when Grand Rapids has something, the community supports what they have and that’s pretty cool. That should teach us all a lesson. Just like he told our players last night when he talked to them; It should really teach us. I mean I wasn’t great at it, still not great, getting better at it. Really, there’s a warm feeling for giving back. This place, whatever there is out there to support, they just rally around and it’s because of the leadership of those four, five guys. Maybe I should be doing a better job in East Lansing because there’s some guys that are trying to do something like that. It’s good for our city, it’s good for our state. Probably would be a lot better for our country if we’d all start rallying around together because to do that, in that short of period of time, is amazing to me.

On what was it like to have Nick Ward play against a talent like Yante Maten this early on in the season…
I thought Nick had some minutes where he played really well and then he had some minutes where he got his butt kicked. I always like that because these guys are human. They get a little cocky and they beat up on people, so when somebody beats up on them you don’t have to coach them as hard, you just have to show them the film and explain some things. Nick did some good things, he did some good things. He is slowing up a little now because people are coming at him. Last year we didn’t have anybody else, but nobody else knew what Nick was, so now he is getting double-teamed and different things. He’s going to have to learn to adjust to those things because a lot of good coaches - like Fox is a very good coach - he started doubling him a little bit helping on him that made it hard for Nick so he’ll grow from this. Nick still was 4-for-6 and 5-for-6 from the line, he just didn’t rebound as well. He had 13 points and I thought he did some pretty good things.

On Xavier Tillman growing up the last few months…
Sometimes you recruit guys and you listen to all the people that talk about them in the rankings and the media and everybody. You get them and you think he’s not as good as I thought. That is pretty normal to be honest with you, but sometimes you get a guy that you go through all this stuff and you think, ‘wow he’s better than I thought.’ This kid, since the day he stepped on campus, has become a better student even a better person, which I always thought he was a good person. He’s such a puppy dog right now, he’s just starting and he does some good things. I always said, since the day I got this job, that toughness and caring matters, he is a tough and caring kid. He has a chance to be better than we thought, he constantly gets better, he doesn’t complain about anything, his family’s done a good job with him, and he’s doing really well in school. He’s got a lot on this plate for a young guy, but he sure has risen up and accepted these challenges. I was laughing to my staff before the game I told them, ‘you know, what is going to happen to Jaren (Jackson Jr.) when I start him for the first time?’ Then those dangly arms are all over everybody like an octopus. I said after, ‘what did you learn?’ He said, ‘I can’t use my arms to foul people.’ That is a good deduction, he’s a smart kid, he figured it out. We were laughing in there because one of my equipment men said ‘you called that perfect.’ I said, ‘yeah that’s the one thing experience of 23 years gets you.’ I was teasing him after I said, ‘hey Miles, you weren’t so good against Kentucky last year either,’ so I made sure that he remembered that there are growing pains. It is a process for all of these guys, and Jaren sometimes he was getting beat up, but he didn’t back away and that is a positive step. To wrap this up, thank you for coming on a Sunda. Some of you drove back from a football game - that’s not easy. Thank you Grand Rapids, thank you Van Andel, and thank Mark Hollis and his group. We got a long ways to go. We didn’t beat the Celtics, but we beat a damn good team that played the style that I think we needed to play against.

Georgia head coach Mark Fox


Opening statement…
I want to begin by just reiterating my thanks to the Michigan State family and the community of Grand Rapids for their support of this game. Certainly, when you do something for a cause greater than yourself you need help to really make an impact and this couldn’t have happened without Michigan State University and the great support that their fan-base and the city of Grand Rapids provided. I thank you from the bottom of our hearts from the Deep South.

On selling out Van Andel Arena in less than a week…
This was a true road game. In the initial conversations we were trying to have the game in Detroit, but we could not get that put together. We were considering East Lansing and we then we ended up here. I’m not really sure how we ended up here, but it worked out great. We anticipated with the following that they (Michigan State) have that you would get a pretty good turnout, but certainly their fans were phenomenal tonight.

On how this game will help them down the road…
We scrimmaged somebody Friday night and so we had a quick turnaround and obviously a big test against a very complete and terrific basketball team. We got more out of this game than we probably would’ve out of two weeks of practice. I think if we can utilize it the right way this will have been a terrific experience for our team.

On his assessment of Michigan State…
Well, I vote in the coaches poll and I voted Michigan State number one, and so that’s how good I think they are. I voted them number one and after seeing them today, the next time we have to cast a vote they’ll still be at the top. I think they’re an elite-level team, they are very complete. They have depth and quality in the backcourt; they have very good perimeter shooting and obviously great wing-play. Then they have so many long and big bodies up front who can score. They’re as complete of a team as I’ve seen in college basketball in quite some time.

On what Yante Maten has meant to the Georgia program…
Yante, a friend of mine saw him play and said, ‘you know, this is a kid you guys may be able to get.’ We went and watched him play, liked him. Yante has an interest in wildlife biology and we have a terrific program in that and so that attracted him also to our school. If he’s not the best young man on our campus, he’s tied for first. He’s a terrific young man – that’s a credit to his mom and to his family. He’s meant a lot to our program. I can’t state enough, just the example that he is. When your best player is your hardest worker and your best person, you’ve got a chance to have a pretty good team I think and he is that for us.

On Miles Bridges…
Well Miles is, he’s awesome. He’s got great size for the small forward position and so I think Coach Izzo moving him there is a great move because he can physically dominate every possession. He was their number one three-point shooter in makes last year and he’s great at balancing the ball and attacking the basket. I think he’s terrific and hopefully he’ll have a great year.


 

 

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