Michigan State Spartans center Derrick Nix dunks on Louisville Cardinals forward Chane Behanan during the first half during the first half during the NCAA men's West Regional basketball tournament in Phoenix

Tom Izzo shows why his players love him at Derrick Nix’s press conference

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On Thursday afternoon, Tom Izzo provided yet another example of why he is one of the most popular coaches in the college ranks.

Izzo reinstated senior big man Derrick Nix after Nix pleaded guilty to a charge of impaired driving stemming from an arrest in which he was caught with weed in his car. Well, it wasn’t his car, actually. The police report said that he was driving a 2011 Dodge Charger, a car that very few college students are going to be able to afford.

Obviously, the rumors started: Why was Nix driving a 2011 Charger? Who did he get it from? Is this how Izzo is able to land players?

But as it turns out, the car wasn’t a 2011 Charger, it was a 2007 Charger. And it didn’t belong to a booster or a rogue car dealership, it belonged to his brother’s girlfriend. And, as you might expect Izzo had some pointed words for those critics.

“It gave a bunch of people at other universities a chance to throw missiles,” Izzo said. “And you know what? They threw ‘em, but we’re still standing.

“To me, that is nothing. It’s not pertinent to this story in any way, shape or form. And if somebody wants to make it that under the circumstance I think they want to make it at, now we got a fistfight.”

Yes, Tom Izzo just challenged “a bunch of people at other universities” to a fistfight while standing up for a player that was being reinstated to the team after nearly getting the boot for a possession arrest.

Who wouldn’t want to play for a guy will to do that?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.