Michigan State doesn’t play again until Friday night against Virginia in the Sweet 16 in New York City. However, its head coach was in the news on Tuesday afternoon.
A report surfaced that the Detroit Pistons were eyeing Tom Izzo as its new head coach after firing Maurice Cheeks during what is now a 26-44 season. Izzo was tempted by the NBA in 2010 when the Cleveland Cavaliers made a push to uproot Izzo from East Lansing. Izzo, in his 19th season as the head coach at Michigan State, went on SportsCenter on Tuesday to remind NBA executives that he is still happy as a college coach.
“I’ve always said I’d never say never to anything because you never know what it brings,” Izzo said. “But I got so much more work to do here. I have a great president, a great AD and a football coach that I really get along [with]. So this is a pretty good place for me right now. We’re in a pretty good spot. Program’s in pretty good shape.
“Ain’t broke, so why fix it?”
The Pistons are looking for their fifth head coach since 2008. Since Izzo took over the Michigan State program in 1995, Detroit has been through 10 different head coaches.
Izzo and his Spartans, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, take on top-seeded Virginia on Friday night inside Madison Square Garden. Tip is scheduled for 9:57 p.m.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.