Answering Your Michigan State Basketball Questions and Emails…

Photo courtesy of Tom Ackerson Photo courtesy of Tom Ackerson

Answering Your Michigan State Basketball Questions and Emails…


Dear Hondo, Insomuch as Coach Izzo has historically refused to consider using a zone defense as a regular strategy, when he witnesses a situation such as in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Indianapolis this past March, wherein one player, Seth Curry, literally takes over the game, does he ever consider a box-and-one defense? It may not only be strategically intelligent against that key player, but it may very well totally surprise the other team, which has planned offensively in concert with Izzo’s known philosophy, the man-to-man defense.  Rich Sternberg, ’65, Flemington, NJ

Hi Rich.  Does he consider it?  Sure.  Will he do it?  No.  I can’t tell you the number of players who bemoan that every year he will get a wild hair and decide that they have to practice the zone because he thinks he will use it, only to never implement it in a game.  I know Jud constantly harps on it.  As you know he has a pretty stellar track record so you have to trust him, but it is a good question.


Hondo did we restock the staff of Student Trainers / Film room junkies, because I thought we lost a lot to graduation last season.  Jon,  Plano TX

They sure did.  Almost all of them are new.  I was joking with three of them the other day that it felt like my kids had all graduated.  Thankfully the director of basketball operations remains and that is the most important constant.  Kevin Pauga, or K.P. to those who know him, is about as savy as they come.


Hi Hondo, Can you give us your thoughts on what to expect from Kenny Kaminski this season? He was a highly recruited kid with offers from Indiana Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, etc. Do you see him making a significant impact at MSU? He was supposed to be a very good shooter.  Dave

Dave he isn’t a very good shooter.  He is an ELITE shooter, but as he recently told me, “We don’t need more scorers, for me to have an impact this year that will have to be secondary, I have to be a defender.”  He is also very smart.  If that defense shows up, I think he will have the minutes to show his scoring is as critical as well.


Hondo what is the mind set of Russell Byrd?  Karen

I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist and when it comes to Russell Byrd I am done trying to predict.  At this point I have no expectations and that way whatever you get is gold.


Hondo I recently caught you being interviewed and you said something that stunned me.  You were talking about Payne being back and that it was critical that he not assume a leadership role is there for him.  He had to earn it.  Can you explain?  Jeffrey

Sure.  Just because he turned down the NBA does not make him the team leader.  He isn’t one.  That isn’t a negative because it isn’t an indictment of his character.  He is a good kid.  Not everyone is a leader.  He has to earn the right to lead and not assume it.  I don’t think he needs to be a leader on this team.  He just needs to take care of his business.


Hondo I thought the interview you did with Travis Trice was outstanding.  I know you have heralded him for years, I can see why.  Frank

Agree.  Good basketball player and a fantastic person.


Hondo any word on how Matt Costello looks?  Chad

Good, real good.


Hondo I have heard Izzo comment several times he wants one more championship.  So if they win it this year of the three assistants which one is Hollis more likely to promote?  Seth

Mark Hollis would go outside of the three assistants for the next head coach, but you didn’t ask me that.  So, if he had to pick one it would be Dane Fife.  Again you asked what I thought HE would do if he was going to promote an assistant.


Hondo when MSU on Tuesday plays their first exhibition what are looking for?  Daniel

As little of Harris, Payne, Appling and Dawson as possible.


Hondo listening to your analysis of this team I get the distinct impression that you feel Alex Gauna could finally do something.  Mitchell

Can you see the light?  For those of you to young to remember the Blues Brothers PLEASE CLICK HERE.  Yes Mitchell I think we have a shot.  He is in his best shape, best frame of mind and I think he can be a significant part.


Hondo you are downplaying in your comments Gavin Schilling and Alvin Ellis.  Are you not impressed?  Lincoln

I am, but they are on a loaded national championship contender.  They don’t have to do much of anything.  They are in a perfect spot.  Whatever they give is golden and to start they don’t have to give anything.


Hondo I hear that Gary Harris is sporting a new do.  What do it look like? Roc

Do you remember the former Minnesota Timberwolves and Notre Dame guard David Rivers?  Click HERE to see Rivers or just CLICK HERE to see Harris and the new hairstyle.



There you go everyone.  Another week of your MSU Basketball Q and A in the books.  Make sure to send in your questions for next week.  Simply email them to and put weekly Q and A Basketball in the subject line.

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of and all of the family of services. The idea was birthed when overseas he ran into a Spartan not native to the United States who was wearing his Green and White proudly. He is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest information about Michigan State and Detroit Sports News every day. He resides in the Mid Michigan area. Follow Hondo on twitter here: @hondocarpenter.

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