The Right Call

After nine days of a quiet concern, Coach Tom Izzo has released a statement that he has rejected an offer to become the next coach of the Cavs and will be staying with Michigan State.


Look, I’ve got no problem believing that Coach Izzo could be successful on the pro level. There really is no questioning Izzo’s talents. This is a future Hall of Fame coach, and he’s still got plenty of time to build on his success.

I also don’t agree with people who say that coaches who make the jump from the college game to the pros are inherently bound to fail (some examples of Hall of Fame coaches with meaningful NCAA careers: Larry Brown, Bob Cousy, some dude named Chuck Daly, Jack Ramsey).

I do think that making the swap is incredibly difficult. Just this morning I heard interviews with Dickie V and Rick Pitino wherein they spoke in detail that the day-to-day life of an NBA coach and an NCAA coach is incredibly different.

(By the way, Pitino shared this story that he took the Boston job partly because he was convinced that he could land the 1st and 2nd overall pick in the draft that year, which would have turned into Keith Van Horn and Tim Duncan. Instead, the Celtics land Chauncey Billups at 3rd – and move him to Toronto for Kenny Anderson halfway through the season – and Ron Mercer at 6th. I know I’m not the first person to be amazed at how horribly off-the-rails that things started out in the Pitino era, but… wow.)

Anyway, I happen to think that Izzo is one of the guys who can walk into the locker room and command the respect of the guys playing for him. I think players will listen to him, I think LeBron would listen to him, and I think the fans would respond to him.

But let’s take a moment to think about how crazy this choice really is.

Behind door number one, you get to start work right away with an NBA team. The draft is in 8 days. Free Agency starts in 16. As far as we’re aware, there’s currently no clear word that LeBron is going to stay in Cleveland. If he stays, that’s great, but you may as well set a alarm clock in your office for June 20th, 2012. If you don’t have a championship by then, you probably need to start looking for work.

If LeBron leaves, I mean…

Look, I don’t want to just blindly suggest that the Cavs aren’t even a playoff team without LeBron. There’s no telling what’s about to happen this summer. Maybe the Cavs get lucky somewhere, but if they don’t, then statistically speaking, your next best point producer is Moe Williams.

Not only that, but consider this. The average college season is between 30-40 games depending on tournament play.

The NBA season is 82 games and you need to win 16 more in order to win a title. If you play your cards right, you get to make 2, maybe 3 important roster adjustments over the course of your run.

And behind door two, you get to keep the job you love, focus on the players you’ve made commitments to, recruit, develop talent, do what you do best and continue to get paid very well to do it. The city you live will continue to treat you like a rock star, and you’re almost assured a spot in the Hall.

All that aside, I think Izzo belongs in Michigan State, and I think college basketball is a better place with Izzo in it.

~ by djepperson on June 16, 2010.

One Response to “The Right Call”

  1. Go Green, Go White, Go State!!! (that one’s for the McLelland men :o)

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