Tom Izzo: Five Reasons the Spartan Coach Should Stay Put
According to numerous sources, the Cleveland Cavaliers have formally offered their head coaching position to Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
This announcement comes on the heels of the Cavaliers dismissing head coach Mike Brown and the resignation of general manager Danny Ferry.
According to an Associated Press report, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has confirmed that the Cavaliers are interested in Izzo, but they have not made him an official offer yet.
This could be a tremendous opportunity for Izzo. Financially, he could probably double his current salary of $3 million per season. He would also be in a position to potentially coach LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA today.
However, no matter what the financial incentives are, Izzo should remain the Spartan head coach. He has built a great tradition in East Lansing, and he has said himself that he wants to win at least one more national championship.
Stay for the Seniors
Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas both could have elected to put their names into the NBA draft this summer. However, they decided to come back for one more season as Spartans in order to try to win a national championship.
In an act of mutual respect and loyalty, coach Izzo should look at what his players have done recently and see that it is not all about the money.
Izzo's players have remained loyal to him. Izzo should stay loyal to his players.
Phenomenal Incoming Class
Adreian Payne (pictured) heads the incoming freshman class for Tom Izzo. Payne, along with guards Russell Byrd and Keith Appling, will look to make an immediate impact for the Spartans this year. Incoming forward Alex Gauna will also look to contribute for the Spartans this season.
According to rivals.com, the Spartans recruiting class is ranked 11th in the nation.
This class could potentially have a very similar impact to what Zach Randolph and Jason Richardson accomplished as young players when players like Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson were still around to lead the team.
Is Cleveland a Good Fit?
Judging from last year's statistics, Cleveland may actually be a decent fit for coach Izzo.
Izzo's coaching style is based on solid defense and rebounding. Izzo also loves to push the pace and run the fast break whenever possible.
Last year, the Cavaliers led the NBA in rebounding differential. One of the hallmarks of Izzo's tenure at Michigan State is that his teams have always been near or at the top of many rebounding categories.
Defensively, the Cavaliers ranked fifth in points per game allowed. Izzo preaches a tough man to man style of defense that would be very well suited for the NBA.
If he could get LeBron James to play some D, he and rest of the Cavaliers could really improve in the 2011 season.
Despite these defensive rankings that would make the Cavs attractive to Izzo, there are underlying reasons why his coaching style is not suited for success in the NBA.
His infamous "war drills" and his fiery personality would not translate into success at the NBA level. Izzo has branded himself as being a tremendous teacher of the game, and he can develop any player if they are willing to work.
In the NBA, coaches don't have to be great teachers, they have to be managers of egos and personalities.
Because of this, I don't believe that Izzo would enjoy coaching most players in the NBA, and most players in the NBA would probably not enjoy playing under Izzo.
East Lansing, Home Sweet Home
There is no question that Tom Izzo has been great for Michigan State University. At the same time, MSU has been great for Izzo as well.
There is undying support for the Spartan basketball program and Izzo today. The Breslin Center is one of the best home court advantages in the country today thanks to the raucous Izzone.
When MSU reached the Final Four in 2009 at Ford Field, upwards of 30,000 fans showed up to watch the open practice. Another few thousand fans packed a nearby mall for a pep rally in honor of the Spartans.
Coach Izzo has called that pep rally one of the best moments in his coaching career.
Michigan State has also wisely given Izzo numerous raises and contract extensions throughout his career to prove that they will do anything possible to keep Izzo in the green and white.
Izzo and the university have had a perfect relationship so far, and together they have built a basketball kingdom from virtually nothing. If Izzo stays, that kingdom should only grow larger.
A Second National Title
Early rankings have Michigan State in the Top Five once again for the 2011 season.
The Spartans' only significant loss from the 2010 roster was Raymar Morgan. Morgan's loss will hurt, but the the addition of Adreian Payne will quickly help ease that loss in the front court.
The continued improvement of forwards Derrick Nix and Garrick Sherman should also help fill the void left by Morgan.
Basketball fans should not forget that the Spartans reached the Final Four last year without their best player, Kalin Lucas. Lucas is still recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered during the NCAA tournament.
Both he and the often injured Delvon Roe should recover in time for next season. That is scary to consider because they both did not play big roles in the regional rounds of last year's Final Four run.
The Spartans could also have the best collection of wing players in the nation. Durrell Summers, Chris Allen, and point-forward Draymond Green will all have a hand in what could be an extremely dynamic Spartan attack next season.
There is no doubt that teams like Duke and Purdue will also have great rosters next year, but MSU should be right with them.
And when March Madness rolls around, no one is better than coach Izzo.
Tom Izzo has said repeatedly that he won't go to the NBA until he wins a second national championship.
Cleveland, it looks like you're going to have to wait until next April if you want him.