If there is one thing fans of college basketball have learned, it is not to question Michigan State Spartan head coach Tom Izzo. Izzo has continuously defined all odds during his time as coach, winning a national championship and appearing in six final fours.
Izzo has proven to be one of the bright spots in a sometimes-shady game of college basketball and consistently puts out a disciplined, tough squad and always seems to bring out the best in his players.
Still, even for someone as tough as Izzo, the change in the game has proven to be difficult. In the era of “me” players and the plague of one-and-done players, Izzo is caught in the transition from old school to new school.
The recruiting trail has become increasingly difficult for Izzo, who not to long ago could pull pretty much any prospect in the Midwest to East Lansing.
But starting with last season, things have become for concerning for Spartan basketball recruiting. Top recruit Jabari Parker, who many thought would take his talents to Michigan State, ultimately decided to go to Duke.
This season, in a recruiting year where the Spartans desperately need a point guard, Izzo and the program has missed out on top point guard recruits Tyus Jones and Tyler Ulis. The Spartans currently have no commitments in their 2014 class, a class where the Spartans desperately need top-level talent.
The Spartans will almost certainly lose four of its five starters after next season is done, with Keith Appling and Adreian Payne graduating and star wing players Gary Harris and Branden Dawson expected to make the leap to the NBA.
If the Spartans can’t make any big recruiting moves, the cupboard will be bare for Izzo and the Spartans and it could become a problem in terms of being nationally competitive like Michigan State always is.
But just as he’s always shown, if there is any coach in the country who can fight through this level of adversity, it’s Tom Izzo. It will be interesting to see what he can do, but you can almost guarantee it will be the right move.