Tom Izzo on the NBA rumors: ‘If I was leaving, I wouldn’t be recruiting’

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Tom Izzo has dealt with rumors about his desire to leave the friendly confines of East Lansing for the NBA for the majority of his tenure at Michigan State, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his name springs up again this summer.

This time around, the rumors are being fueled by the fact that Izzo is close friends with Flip Saunders, the President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves. They just so happen to have an opening at head coach. It’s not a difficult connection to make, and plenty of people have made it.

Izzo made clear to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz on a podcast released on Wednesday afternoon that he planned on returning to Michigan State next season. But he also avoided speaking in certainties.

“First of all, I’m gonna be at Michigan State, but even you can’t trick me into that anymore,” Izzo said, mentioning how he still hears Nick Saban getting criticized for saying that he would never leave the Miami Dolphins to take the Alabama job. “Nobody knows where any of us are going to be. You have to look at your track record and, over all these years, is this what he’s done?”

“If somebody made me an offer, the Los Angeles Lakers, that was so good that it would impress everybody, does that mean I would never say never? I’m not doing that anymore because I’ve seen too many people get stung that way. But put it this way: I’ve got a big-time recruit coming in right now, in about an hour. If I was leaving, I wouldn’t be recruiting.”

This is the right way for Izzo to play it.

Essentially, he’s saying that if the right offer came along, he’d consider a move to the NBA the same way any other person in any other profession would consider a job change if the right job was available.

But he’s been in the rumor mill for NBA jobs for 13 years, and he still hasn’t left.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
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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.