Michigan State's basketball coach Tom Izzo isn't known as a pushover.
Izzo's reputation is well known in the world of college basketball, and he's not one to play games with his players, staff, or the media.
With March Madness creeping in, the Spartans are getting prepared for battle by one of the business' best. As any general would, Izzo demands nothing less than perfection from his men. He's stern, fair, and sometimes he just has to lay down the law of the land.
When the Spartans' fifth-leading scorer (9.1 ppg) and seasoned veteran Chris Allen failed to meet team commitments Tuesday, Izzo didn't dilly-dawdle around when it came to setting the 6'3" shooting-guard straight—he suspended him for Sparty's opening game Friday in the Big Ten Tournament (Have a seat, Chris. You're officially on Izzo's s%&# list).
Although what Allen did is still in the speculation phase, one thing can be certain: A man as serious as Izzo wouldn't boot one of his stars for a flaky infraction. For Izzo to risk his team's depth in any game would be unheard of, unless of course, that action came with good reason. Knowing the 15-year veteran coach's style, there's no doubt that Allen really &%#$@'d up in this case and deserves to ride the pine in the opening round.
Allen isn't the first player this season to catch the wrath of his coach and he probably won't be the last.
Every Spartan fan remembers earlier this season when Kalin Lucas and his coach didn't see eye-to-eye.
Surely Lucas remembers the encounter better than any of us do. He's probably still hearing echoes of "the chat" at this very moment.
"Too Easy" was reported to have a little problem with his attitude and that didn't bode well with Izzo. There's no one player above his team—reigning conference player of the year or not.
Swiftly, Lucas found himself thrown out on his ear from practice. Just a chat with the boss—no big deal.
That talk must have penetrated Lucas' skull, because he came out on full-tilt afterwards, leading the Spartans to a school record 9-0 conference start.
That's the proof in the pudding.
Izzo talks—players listen.
For the sake of the team's chemistry and overall well-being, Izzo had to make yet another example, this time with Allen.
When a young man decides to sign with Michigan State to play his college ball, he knows what he's getting himself into.
He knows that Michigan State is one of the nation's elite programs and that the Spartans are always on the road to the Final Four—even in the offseason.
Men like Izzo don't turn average programs into dynasties overnight. His work in East Lansing over the last decade-and-a-half is a testament to his commitment to his program.
If there's one thing that he expects from his players, it has to be that they have the same commitment to their team as their coach does.
Izzo talks—players listen.