Tom Izzo & Michigan State Basketball Have Big Expectations for a Great Freshman Class
With all the talk of no committed recruits for 2013 and all the anticipation of what Jabari Parker will do, some are overlooking what potentially could be one of the best freshman classes in Michigan State history. They are loaded.
Tom Izzo stepped to the podium at today’s Big Ten basketball media day and the talk of his youngsters was quick to take center stage. Izzo knows what it takes in his system for any player, let alone a freshman to succeed. He said, “I think physically is important, that’s why I think of Dawson last year, Chris Weber, strong enough to handle things as a freshman and Dawson was that for us. Gary Harris and Valentine are athletic, they’re able to take a pounding. I told Harris a couple of days ago, he’s an illegal alien because he plays both ends of the court and that’s something laws a lot of freshmen don’t guard as well and Dawson at the end of the year last year was one of our better defensive players and I think Harris is going to be that off the bat.“
He went continued by saying, “So I think strength is the key, understanding the speed of the game is a little different, and being tough enough to be good enough defensively because you look at Gilcrest last year and that’s what I think he was.”
While true recruiting rankings come after the class leaves MSU, nationally Gary Harris was the prize. So what has he shown Izzo early on at Michigan State? Izzo said, “First of all it’s because of the greatest rule that the NCAA came up with two hours in the summer, I enjoyed that because it gives us a chance to work with the kids and have fun. During the year it’s pressure on them, pressure on us, that was great and I learned a lot about Gary then. He’s been better than I thought he would be, shooting better than I thought he would, and he picks up things so fast.”
Injecting some humor Izzo added when talking about Harris that, “I tease his dad because his mother played in the WNBA and she was a very good player at Purdue, so he’s a chip off her block, I guess, but he’s just a great kid to coach, he’s a great student, he picks things up and he’s been shooting the ball better and better. Defensively I give his high school coach credit because he had it before he came here. He’s very, very intelligent defensively and works very hard at it.”