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Nov. 23, 2013

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
Opening Statement
Well first of all, I'm proud to be a part of this event and I know that the NABC and Reggie Miller and Jim and all the guys are too. I think it's good to teach the kids that basketball can bring something to real life, so the Coaches vs. Cancer thing is great. We are still a team in the process of growing a little bit. We show some flashes of greatness, and some flashes of inadequacies. I liked Virginia Tech's team when I looked at them this summer. And then I saw some kids who sat out... Eddie is a hell of a player and we did a decent job on the other two kids. And Wood. For us, Dawson and Harris were average early. And then I think Dawson really played well. And after that, I think Appling. Dawson and Appling I think did a great job and Harris working his way out of this mini slump. And believe it or not, I think we got a lot out of Costello for only 0-0-0- and 2 rebounds. Defensively he did some of the things we wanted. I think Virginia Tech is going to be decent. Hopefully, we're taking some steps forward.

On Adreian Payne:
Well I'm just getting so proud of this kid because he's starting to play within himself. He's very efficient right now. I thought one three he forced the first half. When you score that many points on 15 shots, getting to the line a little bit more. Thought he had some big time rebounds. And maybe what is getting overlooked was that he was not a great defender last year. I think his defense is three times what it was. It's a good time to say, I appreciate, and understand all the freshman, I hope we start appreciating guys who stay around school and get better, because those two guys have grown up so much. And they're going to be players, at more than just this level before it's done. So I'm really proud of my two seniors, Appling and Payne.

On Adreian Payne being the best power forward at MSU:
I do think he is the best 4 I've had at Michigan State. You know we had a good shooter in Granger, and Hutson played 4, 5, and did some good things. And we had some good guys in the end of 2008, 2009, 2010 era, but if you look at all things right now, I think he is one of the best power forwards or stretch forwards, or whatever you want to call them now, hybrid forwards... He's playing within himself and there's a time he'll play 20 minutes. It's his strength, and his conditioning. He's a perfect example that it's ok to stay in school and get better, and we'll see when it's all said and done where he and we end up with it.

On the reason for the late second-half timeout:
Well I think we just played the score. The biggest problem I've had is substitution pattern, I don't think I'm doing such a good job at it because I'm trying to play 12 guys a little bit or I was. I'm trying to shrink that down now, and I want it to be, they earn it or they lose it. I coach them just the same way. Because somebody has to step up. Alvin Ellis has been great in practice and getting kind of casual with the ball after a turnover or two, and I just don't want to play like that so pardon me if I dragged the game on but there are certain things that I feel I have to do right now until I get my rotation down.

Is too much attention being given to freshmen in college basketball:
It disappoints me. I'm not sure it's great for college basketball and I've talked to some very prominent coaches that feel the same way. And yet I have no problem, I think the guys deserve what they get. But we're making it so crazy now... We're not a dominating #1 team by any means, but we're kind of the nice team that'd gotten better each year with a couple players that have gotten better each year and the way it's supposed to work. And you know, when you start looking at 72% of our baskets are from assists, I think, that's sick. A good sick. The players would say, "That's bad, man, that's really bad," but that means good, I have to learn the lingo, but I mean it is really good. And that shows you how unselfish they are and the kind of guys we have and that's because they did it the way it's supposed to be as guys grow together as a team. But I don't have any ill feelings for the freshman or anyone else; I think that if we don't watch it, it's going to send a bad message both from the media, from the coaches, and from everybody. In my humble opinion.

On comfort in being the #1 team:
Maybe, I mean it was a rough week last week for a variety of reasons. We played well the 2nd half vs. Portland but it's so hard to get an evaluation on teams right now, I'm watching so many upsets in college basketball already, and I said all along I think part of the problem is going to be, can everybody handle it? The twitter and the text, and this and that. And it's disappointing to me because these poor kids are under such pressure; they hardly get to enjoy it. I'm going to do my best to make sure we enjoy, because I do enjoy this team. And I'm going to get on them harder, because they can take it. And they're grizzled, they've been through it. Maybe we're a little more comfortable... I'm never comfortable. So much basketball left to be played. It is nice to come out and really turn up our defense. That game was won with our defense. I thought that was the difference in the game.



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