IT Professional

Izzo coaching the Cavaliers is a catch-22

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Tom Izzo is a great coach. He took over from Jud Heathcoate and kept Michigan State as one of the elite programs in college basketball. Now granted I am a casual follower of college basketball, or rather someone who doesn’t really start paying attention until conference tournament time. My primary interest is in seeing where my teams are ranked in the beginning of the season, which players demonstate NBA talent, and if my Buckeye’s have a chance to take the NCAA tournament. Being an Ohio State fan has its advantages here. However, just like Michigan is OSU’s rival in football, Michigan State (where Izzo is currently head coach) is OSU’s rival in college basketball. Not really though. MSU is a basketball powerhouse. Magic Johnson, Shawn Respert and Eric Snow, Mateen Cleaves and others have dominated Big Ten play for decades.

So on the one hand I want Izzo to leave…but its a catch-22 situation we have here. Thad Motta of OSU is one of the best coaches in college basketball, and though MSU has talent, they would still be hard pressed to maintain the level of play from recent years. Currently they are favorites to win the NCAA’s next season. On the other hand, if he goes on to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers, he wont bring a championship to Cleveland. The Cavaliers need an experienced NBA head coach, someone who knows how to manage NBA players.

SO what is a fan of both teams to hope for? Well, if Izzo decides to stay, Cleveland will likely take Byron Scott who has coached and played in the Finals, but his choice as coach may entice Lebron to leave. Izzo may also entice Lebron to leave, because of Lebron’s desire to have a coach who played professionally. Then again, as I alluded to before, the Buckeye’s may have a stronger chance to win the Big Ten and get a better seed in the tournament, though that is not likely with Lighty and Turner leaving the team. At any rate the prospects for the Buckeye’s improve.

I guess all thats left is to prognosticate what will happen. Izzo is 55, and he is definitely a very smart fellow. He knows that if he takes on the Cleveland job, they wont win and his legacy will be tarnished forever. The current Spartans team is very talented and would likely get a boost from the ol’ coach coming back. I dont see an old rich man coming aboard for the challenge, even if the money is excellent. Someone else already said it, but he is already rich making around 3 million per year. The challenge and promise of possibly coaching one of the best players in the NBA has to be alluring though. For someone who has done everything there is to do, he can only go down hill from here. However, if he just takes a look at Duke, where coach Mike K. is a living legend, I think thats what is in an old man’s heart. Pitino and Calipari were ambitious and younger when they took the call to coach the Celtics, Nets and Knicks. Frankly, the more he thinks about it, and it has been at least a day or two, it must be getting clearer that he would be a fool to take that job.

*Of course, he IS trying to get an idea if Lebron will stay. He needs to remember the lesson of the Atlanta Falcons and Bobby Petrino. Remember a short while ago how Atlanta was on its way and Petrino got the job thinking Mike Vick would be the player for that team? Well, once he got aboard, Vick was suspended by the league and the Falcons fell off the face of the earth. Petrino’s reputation will never recover from that fiasco. Tom Izzo may be walking into the same kind of high-risk situation.

I’m guessing he leaves well enough alone. He is gonna be at MSU forever and will go down as a legend. Not even Lebron can bring him more glory and security than that.

It doesn't get any better...than this!


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