Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 26, 2014

Izzo not a fan of social media

By JAMES COOK jcook@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — EAST LANSING — Tom Izzo didn’t pull punches Wednesday.

The Michigan State men’s basketball coach addressed an Associated Press meeting of sports editors and reporters at the Michigan High School Athletic Association headquarters.

While he was scheduled to talk for 30 minutes, the wide-ranging discussion on the state of basketball ended up lasting more than an hour.

Izzo didn’t even need guidance. In the 60-plus minutes, he was asked only about a half dozen questions.

“I think we should definitely pay players a million dollars so that the universities go bankrupt,” Izzo opened with a smile.

From there, he addressed the annual rumors of his departure for the NBA, Michigan forward Mitch McGary, his optimism about the 2014-15 Spartans, how he dealt with decisions by Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris on when to leave for the NBA, the impact of one-and-done players on college basketball, why some players are busts at the next level and recruiting hits and misses.

But, in particular, he made obvious his total disdain for social media — especially Facebook and Twitter.

“What we lack nowadays is any kind of communication skills at all,” Izzo said. “Everybody wants to hide behind a computer. You guys do. Players do. I’m one of the only ones that don’t. I hate it. I can’t stand it. I make no bones about it. I’ve watched everybody take the social media on a serious note, including my assistants that said if I don’t do it, it’s going to kill us in recruiting. ... I watch reporters, you guys, salivating because you had all the information on your phone. And then all the sudden you have to come to a garage (a makeover done for TV) that had nothing to do with anything, or you’ve got to follow up on what I say is about 60 percent of things that aren’t true, just because of that damn social media. I think it went from making everyone’s job easier in a certain extent — at least from the media standpoint — to now it’s disastrous. I can’t even imagine what you guys have to follow. Somebody will call me and ask me about somebody’s ankle, and I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ ‘Well, I heard that.’ ‘Where’d you hear that?’ ‘Well, it was on Twitter.’ I don’t envy you on that.”

See Friday’s Record-Eagle for the rest of Izzo’s comments.