Pat Caputo: Tom Izzo Has Best Chance Yet For Second NCAA Title At MSU

Izzo is smart, knows how to adapt and has displayed a propensity to learn from his mistakes.

Pat Caputo
July 08, 2020 - 11:38 am

Say they all play. Say they all stay. It would seem like Tom Izzo is a lock for his elusive second national title at Michigan State, right?

Admittedly, it is more complicated than that, but certainly promising.

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Emoni Bates, who ranks with Magic Johnson and others among the greatest players ever from this state, is in the 2022 class, but reportedly trying to re-classify to 2021. With endorsement deals on the horizon for NCAA athletes and potential delays to the NBA changing its so-called “one and done” rule, it’s possible he will play at MSU for a year, although the NBA G League could still loom.

Max Christie is a 5-star shooting guard, Pierre Brooks II a 4 star in the 2021 class. Christie just committed this week. They join 4-star recruits A.J. Hoggard and Mady Sissoko in the ‘20 class.

And there’s all the young talent currently on the roster - Rocket Watts, Gabe Brown, Malik Hall, Marcus Bingham Jr., Julius Marble and Marquette transfer Joey Hauser.

There could be an NBA departure or two there, but still - MSU’S loaded.

The twist is Izzo’s best teams haven’t been overloaded. His greatest players in the past decade - Draymond Green, Denzel Valentine and Cassius Winston - did slow builds to greatness. The NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse at Little Caesars Arena with 5-star recruits Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Joshua Langford still stings.

But it’s always better to err on the side of talent, especially given the uncertainty of the pandemic and increased tendency of players transferring. 

Izzo is smart, knows how to adapt and has displayed a propensity to learn from his mistakes.

His intensity is often used against him by MSU’s rivals, and undoubtedly during recruiting, 

Yet, it hasn’t mattered. It’s turning out plenty of genuinely high end players seek a coach who will drive more than coddle them.

Point guard could be an issue, but often doesn’t come into play for teams with this type of athleticism.

Whatever downsides to this success in recruiting is splitting hairs. At minimum, the Spartans are going to be formidable for years to come.

And, especially if Bates ends up on campus, it presents Izzo his best chance yet at his second NCAA championship.