Tom Izzo

Who is Michigan State’s leader this season?

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Tom Izzo is used to being vocal. As you can see by the photo of Izzo with the microphone, he’s very well-accustomed to addressing the Michigan State faithful and his own team.

Now that Michigan State enters the 2013-14 season with incredibly high expectations — multiple publications have listed the Spartans as their preseason No. 1 team — they’re searching for a vocal leader that isn’t Tom Izzo.

Although the Spartans return four starters and a lot of experience after last season’s brutal Big Ten stretch, one of the major questions they have entering the season is who will lead them on the floor.

The Spartans began practice yesterday and as the AP’s Larry Lage reported, Izzo is still searching for the leader(s) of this year’s Michigan State team.

While Izzo is fired up about his talented and experienced roster, he isn’t sure who his leaders will be this season.

“We just actually met for an hour about it,” Izzo said before practice.

None of the four returning starters — Adreian Payne, Keith Appling, Branden Dawson or Harris — is considered a natural leader, but Izzo wants at least one of them to become more vocal.

“I’m not into leading by example at all,” Izzo said. “Cop out. Hate it. Despise it.”

The lack of a true leader at this point in the season isn’t a make-or-break proposition by any means, but it is interesting that a team considered by many to be No. 1 has uncertainty.

I’m sure the Spartans would just be happy if Branden Dawson and Gary Harris stayed healthy through the whole season and Adreian Payne and Keith Appling performed up to expectations during every game, but finding a vocal leader will be one of many interesting storylines surrounding Michigan State early in the season.

Lage noted in the story that Gary Harris is close to returning from his sprained ankle, with Izzo saying, “It’s so early in the year, I think he’s a week away from doing anything physical.”

When Harris returns to health — and returns to form — he could be the Spartans’ best player, and ideally their vocal leader, before he potentially leaves East Lansing for the NBA Draft after the season.

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.

Division III William Paterson forfeits game to protest coach’s firing

William Paterson Athletics
William Paterson Athletics
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William Paterson, a Division III basketball program in New Jersey, forfeited a game on Tuesday night to protest the firing of their head coach, Jose Rebimbas.

Rebimbas, a player for the 1990 Seton Hall team that reached the national title game, had been with the program for 20 years, amassing nearly 400 wins, winning six league titles and reaching nine NCAA tournaments. He announced his firing earlier this week on FaceBook, and the players on his team responded by boycotting Tuesday night’s matchup with Ramapo.

Dylan Burns, a William Paterson student that does play-by-play for the school’s athletic teams, tweeted that the basketball players came out of the locker room for layups lines, took off their warmups, threw them in a pile on the court and walked off the floor.

The following screengrabs from instagram videos that have since been removed show the players leaving the floor:

Screengrab via Instagram

And the jerseys piled in the middle of the court:

Screengrab via Instagram

The crowd at the game can be heard cheering when it is announced that the game has been forfeited.

Rebimbas wrote the following on FaceBook over the weekend:

“It is with great sadness and extreme frustration that after today I will not be coaching the basketball team at William Paterson University. WP has been my home and family for more than 20 years and yet the University has taken action to remove me from the service I love. People I have trusted and served with have defied logic and are pursing my termination because of a misunderstanding over a facility rental fee for a camp that I run.”

“These actions come despite the University hearing officer determining that termination was not warranted. The University has unfairly and illegally taken my right to coach and mentor the student-athletes I love. I am prepared to fight the actions of William Paterson University and restore my good name and that of the program.”