Thursday, May 28, 2009

A brief report from East Lansing

Tuesday morning I was sitting in my office looking at a spreadsheet or something, when Dave Mueller, the guy whose office is next to mine, ducked his head in for a chat. I mean ducked literally -- Dave is 6-foot-9.

"I was thinking about you over the holiday," Dave told me as he looked at a picture of Alando Tucker on my wall.

Dave, you see, was Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball in 1985 for Racine St. Catherine's, and matriculated at Michigan State. He played there for Jud Heathcoate, and also for a young assistant named Tom Izzo.

Over Memorial Day week Dave took his family back to East Lansing, and stopped by the basketball offices to see if there was a picture of him hanging somewhere to show his children. The receptionist recognized him and said hello, and briefly left. She returned with Izzo, who gave Dave a tour of the Breslin Center and its luxurious locker rooms.

Dave was amazed at the amenities, particularly the lockers with video players and XBoxes. A far cry from what the locker room looked like in his days. His description reminded me of the Field House locker rooms, which felt like my dorm room compared to the digs at the Kohl Center.

It's a slow time of year for Izzo and his counterparts at other schools, although as far as I know he's not dealing with a decommitment from a local high school superstar. Dave was amazed at how young some of the kids that Izzo and his staff were recruiting.

Luxury locker rooms, younger-than-ever recruits: it's all part of the current college basketball landscape. For better or for worse.

Anyway, I tease Izzo a lot here, but it's pretty cool that he remembered a guy like Dave, who wasn't a college superstar, and took the time to catch up with him.


Will said...

Among basketball coaches in the Big 10 (not named Bo Ryan), Izzo has always been my favorite.

Edward said...

LOL, Izzo has been and always will be my least favorite coach. He would have to do a lot of kidney donations and saving kids from burning buildings to change that.

Tom said...

Dear Coach Izzo - Admit it, at some point you've wanted to puch Drew Neitzel just like the rest of us.

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