During a time when most people are thinking Drew Stanton’s Heisman and football season, men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has been thinking National Championship and basketball. During the beginning of this summer Izzo was all over the news, whether he was working a camp with Michael Jordan, golfing at the Buick Open with Tiger, or traveling to Kuwait.
[izzo2]“One of the greatest experiences my life was going to Kuwait for 6 days and spending it with good men and women in the armed forces. Not ever having been in the military, it was an incredible, incredible, experience and I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.”
Coach Izzo’s been more undercover the last few weeks; he hasn’t been in one place very long, thanks to his hectic basketball recruitment season. He hasn’t been wasting anytime either, as he has been on the road recruiting for the last several weeks.
“I have been on the road just about every day, and I feel good about it. This year and next, are very important years for us. We have been out a lot, and we got one commitment, and I think were going to get another one soon. So, it’s headed in the right direction,” Coach Izzo said.
Last year the basketball team got the campus pumped-up for the Final Four, which hadn’t happened for several years. This year Izzo and his players are hoping to take this season a step forward.
“The only surprise I am looking for is a national championship. They’re really looking forward to winning the national championship. In other words, they’re not satisfied for going to a final four. The fact that a Paul Davis or Maurice Ager, who could have left earlier—stayed, because they have dreams for this program,”
The team is very motivated about coming back to this season. especially afterHowever, this year there is still some concern about not having all the returning players this year. “I think we potentially have a real good team. The only thing that could diminish that is we don’t have the depth we had last year. This year we have not much at all, on the perimeter.”
Despite the a lack of depth, Coach Izzo has a very strong feeling his team already has what it takes, which may be partly due to the leaders of the team stepping up. “I really like this team. They’ve been through a lot together, I think three guys right now could be NBA first-round picks, and for the first time in a while, our players are starting to take back over the program. Even though it’s cool when I’m running it, it’s a lot better when they are. When players take ownership, that’s when you have a special program.”
Time will tell how the team will do. Until then, fans are looking forward to Midnight Madness. But Izzo admits that he is still content with watching football a while longer. “Football’s been so exciting; I just hope football keeps going. I love football and I love those guys and I think they’ve been through a lot and so it’s been fun to watch them grow.”
However, he is energized about the excitement of Midnight Madness and all of the tens of thousands of fans it brings. “Midnight Madness is always the start of basketball and it’s been so well supported here.”
Until then, Izzo feels condfident in the team, “Now with these guys having grown, I think they are ready to carry the torch.”

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