Tom Izzo

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo to receive Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award

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Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo will be the recipient of the 2013 Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, set to be presented to him at 2013 Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 15 in Oklahoma City.

The Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a member of the college basketball community who “has made a significant positive impact on society,” according to a release. The award is named after former Oklahoma star Wayman Tisdale, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2009.

Television analyst and former coach Dick Vitale received the award in 2011 and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was given the award last season.

Izzo has achieved an 80 percent graduation rate among players who have completed their eligibility at Michigan State, and has also been active in a number of causes, including Coaches Vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America, Sparrow Hospital, and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

“Few coaches in collegiate athletics have endured and excelled like Tom Izzo,” David Gillikin, 2012 chairman of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award Advisory Board, said in a statement.

“His record of achieving the highest levels of success on the court together with his focus and success in graduating his players and positively impacting the community make him the ideal selection and adds another very significant name to the growing list of Tisdale Humanitarian honorees.”

Izzo and Michigan State are 14-3 so far in the 2012-13 season and are ranked No. 18 in the country.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.