Izzo outburst w/Aaron Henry

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#2
Iowa City
Those worrying about Underwood's demeanor on the bench should check out Izzo from yesterday. Pretty intense!
The worry is still justified. I have seen a lot of media be critical of how that looked yesterday.

And the concern from the first year must have made its way to BU. I felt it wasn't as much of an issue this year, and a lot of the media the team released seemed to have a big focus on calm BU.
 
#3
The worry is still justified. I have seen a lot of media be critical of how that looked yesterday.

And the concern from the first year must have made its way to BU. I felt it wasn't as much of an issue this year, and a lot of the media the team released seemed to have a big focus on calm BU.
I’ve heard as many people say if they have a problem with it then they haven’t watched much MSU basketball. And they certainly haven’t been to an MSU practice.

Everyone wants to get offended on behalf of others. MSU’s players seem to love Izzo, and Illini players seem to love Underwood. While we talk about AAU culture and going soft on kids, most of these kids want to be pushed and have no problem with it.
 
#4
I’ve heard as many people say if they have a problem with it then they haven’t watched much MSU basketball. And they certainly haven’t been to an MSU practice.

Everyone wants to get offended on behalf of others. MSU’s players seem to love Izzo, and Illini players seem to love Underwood. While we talk about AAU culture and going soft on kids, most of these kids want to be pushed and have no problem with it.
Exactly, some kids actually respond very well to that coaching style. I remember reading that Kofi was excited for BU to really push him in practice and in games. Certainly not everyone prefers the intensity, but plenty seem to.
 
#5
I’ve heard as many people say if they have a problem with it then they haven’t watched much MSU basketball. And they certainly haven’t been to an MSU practice.

Everyone wants to get offended on behalf of others. MSU’s players seem to love Izzo, and Illini players seem to love Underwood. While we talk about AAU culture and going soft on kids, most of these kids want to be pushed and have no problem with it.
Exactly. These kids are fine with getting yelled at as it makes them better. What will get them sideways with the coach is a perceived lack of playing time. As long as they are playing and have bought into the system they will be fine.
 
#6
Speaking of Izzo, yesterday was MSU's 66th NCAA tournament win, which tied them with Indiana for the most in the B!G. Third is Michigan with 60 and then fourth is OSU with 56. Tied for the fifth spot is Purdue and Illinois with 40 tournament wins.
 
#8
uh, Maine
Speaking of Izzo, yesterday was MSU's 66th NCAA tournament win, which tied them with Indiana for the most in the B!G. Third is Michigan with 60 and then fourth is OSU with 56. Tied for the fifth spot is Purdue and Illinois with 40 tournament wins.
Would have love to seen that stat in 2006. What a waste this last decade-plus has been
I'm not so sure you want to know.

We were tied for 4th with OSU at 37 wins at the end of the 2004-2005 season. IU (58), UM (40) and MSU (40) were ahead of us then but not by much. Since then OSU and MD have moved ahead of us. If PU wins another (seems likely), they jump ahead of us at 41 wins. Wisconsin could tie us with 2 wins in this year's tournament, and move ahead of us if they make the Elite 8 (seems unlikely). Either way, we're looking at 7th place at the end of this tournament and possibly 8th place. Sigh.
 
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#9
Morris, IL
I'm not so sure you want to know.

We were tied for 4th with OSU at 37 wins at the end of the 2004-2005 season. IU (58), UM (40) and MSU (40) were ahead of us then but not by much. Since then OSU and MD have moved ahead of us. If PU wins another (seems likely), they jump ahead of us at 41 wins. Wisconsin could tie us with 2 wins in this year's tournament, and move ahead of us if they make the Elite 8 (seems unlikely). Either way, we're looking at 7th place at the end of this tournament and possibly 8th place. Sigh.
Don't have to worry about Bucky tying us! I'm sooooo tired of us loosing to them in both men's revenue sports. I'd like nothing more than to see our arrows pointing up and theirs down in both.
 
#13

Deleted member 746317

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Izzo outburst w/Aaron Henry

There's a ton of opinion pieces on it, and I know there are a growing number of haters that post about him here. But I will say this, everyone of his players that has commented on it has come to his defense. To me, those are the voices that matter.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2019/03/23/tim-bograkos-michigan-state-basketball-tom-izzo/3254408002/
Thanks for the link. I believe BU proceeds (or wants to) along the Izzo track with players, and BU appears to be at about a "7," when Izzo dials it to "11."

Some posters a) don't like a coach to show strong emotions during a game (or maybe ever), b) don't like coaches to show strong negative emotions (unless maybe at refs) and/or c) think college coaches in general are too involved in the games - that coaches should prep before games, talk in timeouts and at half and then let the players play the game. I personally don't think there's one right way to coach or that coaches should be robotic or afraid to show great frustration with a player. There are limits - and I think Izzo's recent flare was right out there at the limit -- but coach and players absolutely are (and should be) dialed up to their version of "11" during the tourney, and what things look like/feel like to them during battle is a lot, lot different than it looks to spectators.

What I like to see is that coach and player have mutual respect and that a foundation of caring and tough love has been created. Growth and performance maximization do not occur when everything is puppies and daisies (or cool/cold/calm assessment and exchange). Izzo's team performance track record speaks for itself, and his players literally speak for him and his style. Coaches like Izzo - and BU doing an Izzo-lite impersonation - are going to do/say some things they might later want to take back, but I do think they have the ability to boost their teams at times, and sometimes that's going to be the difference between winning and losing.
 
#14
https://deadspin.com/stop-excusing-tom-izzo-s-assholery-1833497588

"If you’ve ever been yelled at like this, or had your feelings hurt in some other way, you know that it can be a slow burn. The pain can last for years. Not everyone can just shrug it off, the way wingnuts demand. Being hurt by hurtful things is not a moral or physical failing. You also know that you may not be quick to disclose being hurt to others, especially when you know it could result in embarrassment, or even more hurt. You might internalize that pain and perhaps blame yourself for the whole thing, even though you don’t deserve it. Like other successful coaches, Izzo can pretty much do whatever the f--- he wants, including roiding out at men a third of his age. And the system he operates in, even at a bastion of horrific scandal like Michigan State, treats his methodology as NORMAL. Acceptable. This is a rite of passage boys must go through to become men, and you shouldn’t question it. The players DEFINITELY shouldn’t."
 
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#15

Deleted member 746317

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Good discussion here imo.

Thanks for putting that up. Entertaining discussion, and I agree with most of it. I do tend to agree with these strands from that discussion:

  1. Most college players are neither fully formed adults nor are they little kids
  2. Many students entering college "these days" are "soft"
  3. Society today is softer, less accepting of unvarnished truth than in past
  4. Treating college players like snowflakes stunts basketball development and misses opportunity to prep for real world after college/after basketball
  5. When issue is player showing lack of effort/lack of passion, demonstrating passion might be exactly the right thing
I would add my own thoughts:
  • To maximize basketball and personal development, many college players these days need more of a father figure (Izzo) than either a grandfatherly figure (Lou Henson) or a dominant drill sergeant (Bob Knight). For a father figure preparing the fam for battle, look for Eddard Stark, rather than softies Ward Cleaver/ Howard Cunningham or Tywin-Lannister-type tyrants.
  • Not all students entering college are soft. Giorgi? Feliz? Nick Anderson? Any kid coming in from true poverty and/or dangerous environments? Description of all kids "these days" as all soft or all expecting trophies isn't that useful.
  • Society needs to get out of ready-to-be-offended mode …. And, part of that is to stop being so damn certain that we have enough information to conclusively judge things from afar. [Anyone else have different feelings about the Covington Catholic high school student vs. Native American flap a while back, after first seeing the initial photo and later seeing the 2hr video and/or follow-up reporting?]
  • Was never a fan of the grab-your-facemask/hit-you-upside-the-helmet type of football coach or the basketball equivalent (Bob Knight), but Lou Henson/Bruce Webber/John Groce coaches probably don't get the same effort from players or imprint players as beneficially for life as an Izzo-type does. If a left to right continuum of coaches looked like Henson - Webber - Groce - BU - Izzo - Pitino Sr. - Boeheim - Knight, then give me BU/Izzo spot every time.
  • Izzo looked like a Chihuahua (okay, maybe a Beagle) barking at a Great Dane when he was bug-eyed yelling at Henry. Doubt that players "restraining" Izzo (or Henry himself) were actually worried Izzo might make physical contact with Henry; probably more worried he would stroke out. Commentators may have thought Izzo looked out of control, but he didn't look that way to me.
 
#16
Sycamore, Illinois
There was a similar article in our local paper today from Paul Newberry of Associated Press condemning Izzo. While I agree that it may look somewhat out of control it hardly seems to be the end of the world the way some of these guys make it sound. Would rather have the passion on display than hidden behind the scenes. Players seem to be ok with it.

It seems like a lot of people want to make “victims” out of as many people as they can. Even if those people don’t see themselves as victims.
 
#17
Even if those people don’t see themselves as victims.
If Aaron Henry sees himself as a victim here, he doesn't have a ton of power to speak out about it if he wants to play college basketball. Izzo has a lot of power over him. I'm a fan of Izzo generally, he's been a great coach for a long time. But his antics here seem antiquated at best. From a time when Bobby Knight strangling players was in vogue. Good leaders shouldn't need to scream at people and debase them on national TV to get them to follow. You say the players seem to be ok with it, but I saw several of them restraining Izzo as he went after Henry. How many times have you ever seen that? Players holding a coach back from one of their own? You can point to Izzo's success, and that's fair, but there are plenty of other coaches with lots of success (some with more) who don't act this way, at least not anywhere near this degree. I'm not saying you can't show your passion, but this interaction was many levels beyond acceptable. I would be embarrassed if I were an MSU fan. At the end of they day, it's about treating other people with respect.

Underwood, fortunately, really seemed to tone things down this year. I remember an early outburst aimed at Feliz, but, compared to last year, things were much better.
 
#19

Deleted member 746317

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https://deadspin.com/stop-excusing-tom-izzo-s-assholery-1833497588

"If you’ve ever been yelled at like this, or had your feelings hurt in some other way, you know that it can be a slow burn. The pain can last for years. Not everyone can just shrug it off, the way wingnuts demand. Being hurt by hurtful things is not a moral or physical failing. You also know that you may not be quick to disclose being hurt to others, especially when you know it could result in embarrassment, or even more hurt. You might internalize that pain and perhaps blame yourself for the whole thing, even though you don’t deserve it. Like other successful coaches, Izzo can pretty much do whatever the f--- he wants, including roiding out at men a third of his age. And the system he operates in, even at a bastion of horrific scandal like Michigan State, treats his methodology as NORMAL. Acceptable. This is a rite of passage boys must go through to become men, and you shouldn’t question it. The players DEFINITELY shouldn’t."
This subject sure has hit a nerve … I'm a bit nervous replying here, but I reply in spirit of good faith ...

The person who wrote the comments quoted by BoJack in post #14 sure was angry. The last part of their comments was: " … Or maybe you’re [Izzo supporters] just too lazy to think of other ways of going about instruction. You’re f---ed, and WE’RE f---ed because you [all of us, apparently, who don't interpret Izzo as a monster] think being f---ed is the answer to everything."

There's a lot of pain in that, and I don't know enough to argue it isn't justified in the person who wrote it, but it does feel like there's some serious projection goin on there.

I developed an impression of Bob Knight as an unrepentant, abusive, egomaniacal bully. There were credible reports of him hitting and choking players. I don't know the full story on Knight, but I know I had a visceral reaction to being near him or listening to him in certain press conferences, and I absolutely rejected what sounded to me at the time like "end-justifies-the means" support from Indiana fans. Is Izzo the bully that I thought Knight was? I guess he could be, but I haven't been exposed to enough information that makes me feel that way about Izzo, and there is much more counter evidence out there to support Izzo's care/concern for players than I heard for Knight.

I surely don't condone bullying-as-coaching or as teaching, and I seriously doubt that most Izzo supporters think bullying is appropriate. It's amazing how we can look at the same pictures and see such different things. I think the bug-eyed Izzo pic is striking, but it doesn't tell you anything more than that Izzo was deeply angry in that moment. Tells you nothing about where the passion was coming from or how it was perceived by Henry.

There are some things you can tell from looking at one picture frame and some you can't. Gotta be real careful not to patch the pic into a ready-made narrative, even if the pic seems to fit. I agree with all the opinions Berg88 offered in post #17, except that I don't believe players had to restrain Izzo, in that Izzo would have attacked Henry or would not have backed off of his on volition. My interpretation was that the players did put their hands on Izzo and were looking more to restrain him generally, so he would calm down generally. The game was still in progress, the coach had more than made his point, and everyone needed to get back to trying to win the game. The coach had gone farther than he needed to and was wasting time and energy for everyone at that point.

Agree with Berg88 that Henry could not be considered free (or maybe even capable of) sharing his true feelings to this point, but that doesn't mean that what Henry said might not be exactly true of his feelings and won't remain true years in future. For now, we just can't know. Couple of other things that I think can be said right now, though:
  • If you are a top level college coach, then you probably are very driven, very passionate and at least somewhat obsessive. [What would the exceptions rather than the rule be for top performers in coaching or playing in any physically competitive sport? No, this isn't an endorsement of abuse or a free pass for lack of self control...]
  • It's probably the exception rather than the rule that you could be a high level college coach and never lose your !!!! where people can see you or comport yourself in a way that a bug-eyed angry pic of you couldn't be caught. [How many top level coaches are there for whom who you can't Google up an unflattering, out-of-control-looking pic? I Googled "angry coaches" and … boy there's lots of pics. Are they all abusers?]
  • Coaching college basketball, where the playing space is intimate, personal, continuous and fast-paced (that takes place in front of huge audiences in real time and with both adult and young adult futures + $$ at stake) is a far cry from the dynamics of teaching math or coaching gymnastics, or most anything else. Definitely there is teaching involved in all coaching, but academic teaching and college coaching are far more different than they are alike -- there isn't/shouldn't be anything like the intimacy/emotion/complexity that necessarily is involved with college basketball coaching going between a classroom teacher and a student.
  • I do think Izzo went farther than he needed to with Henry (and I hope he would choose to dial it back, if he was able to redo it), but I didn't see abuse (JM-current-HO) in the videos that I saw, taken in context of the impressions I had before seeing them, along with consideration of the subsequent accounts of Izzo offered by people who've been part of his world.
 
#22
Here's my quick thoughts. Izzo's point was that all professional places have expectations and accountability for an employee. This is reasonable and true, however, if the majority of any bosses delivered the message of dissatisfaction to their employee the way Izzo did, they would be fired for harassment. I wholeheartedly believe in tough love, high expectations, and passionate leadership, but I do think sport culture allows for and encourages verbally abusive environments. Though I do tend to agree with most that say, a player knows what they're signing up for with a coach like Izzo, so that has to be taken into account. I'll be the first to admit that I don't care for Underwoods behavior at times either. I believe that you can lead and inspire young men without berating them and making them look like fools. But I suppose it's a relative topic.
 
#23
Sycamore, Illinois
If Aaron Henry sees himself as a victim here, he doesn't have a ton of power to speak out about it if he wants to play college basketball. Izzo has a lot of power over him. I'm a fan of Izzo generally, he's been a great coach for a long time. But his antics here seem antiquated at best. From a time when Bobby Knight strangling players was in vogue. Good leaders shouldn't need to scream at people and debase them on national TV to get them to follow. You say the players seem to be ok with it, but I saw several of them restraining Izzo as he went after Henry. How many times have you ever seen that? Players holding a coach back from one of their own? You can point to Izzo's success, and that's fair, but there are plenty of other coaches with lots of success (some with more) who don't act this way, at least not anywhere near this degree. I'm not saying you can't show your passion, but this interaction was many levels beyond acceptable. I would be embarrassed if I were an MSU fan. At the end of they day, it's about treating other people with respect.

Underwood, fortunately, really seemed to tone things down this year. I remember an early outburst aimed at Feliz, but, compared to last year, things were much better.
My comment about players being ok with it was regarding most of the comments made by Izzo’s former and current players rather than Henry specifically.

I don’t have a lot of specific examples of players holding back a coach but, did see another time this season although different situation/context. Weber was going after Diarra of KState in a late game time out apparently for celebrating before the game was over. The players in the game at the time were huddling before going on floor. Weber tried to follow and continue his tirade but, Xavier Sneed led him back to bench as to say “we got this”. I believe there are several times other players try deflect things when a teammate is hearing it from a coach. Generally those situations aren’t as heated as this one but, think the players were acting with the same instinct in this situation.
 
#24
Obviously there is a lot to unpack with the whole issue here.

There are some things you can tell from looking at one picture frame and some you can't. Gotta be real careful not to patch the pic into a ready-made narrative, even if the pic seems to fit. I agree with all the opinions Berg88 offered in post #17, except that I don't believe players had to restrain Izzo, in that Izzo would have attacked Henry or would not have backed off of his on volition. My interpretation was that the players did put their hands on Izzo and were looking more to restrain him generally, so he would calm down generally. The game was still in progress, the coach had more than made his point, and everyone needed to get back to trying to win the game. The coach had gone farther than he needed to and was wasting time and energy for everyone at that point.
I doubt Izzo would have thrown a punch or grabbed Henry by the throat, much as I doubt coaches would ever take a swing at a ref on the floor, but we see them be held back by assistant coaches and players in those situations. Obviously that's in part to reduce the chance of a technical, but anytime a fully grown man is screaming the face of another man, there is the potential for big problems. That situation can devolve VERY quickly. Further, Izzo is in the middle of the most important game of his season, he knows he's on national television, it's a close game, he's in a timeout, and yet he seems to have completely lost his mind with rage at this kid to the point that he is not even capable of addressing his team as a whole. As you said, he was wasting time and energy, not only of himself, but his assistants and his players. And all of this is disregarding the issue of whether or not this style of coaching confers any benefit whatsoever over a more docile approach.

Additionally, I recognize that pictures can be misleading, but we do have a video here that provides a fair bit of context. This wasn't a split second overreaction to a boneheaded play. Izzo goes after him for about 10 seconds and then, after everyone appears to have calmed down in the timeout, stands up out of his chair to get in his face again. Frankly, it's startling to see that degree of lack of self control.

Agree with Berg88 that Henry could not be considered free (or maybe even capable of) sharing his true feelings to this point, but that doesn't mean that what Henry said might not be exactly true of his feelings and won't remain true years in future. For now, we just can't know. Couple of other things that I think can be said right now, though:
  • If you are a top level college coach, then you probably are very driven, very passionate and at least somewhat obsessive. [What would the exceptions rather than the rule be for top performers in coaching or playing in any physically competitive sport? No, this isn't an endorsement of abuse or a free pass for lack of self control...]
  • It's probably the exception rather than the rule that you could be a high level college coach and never lose your !!!! where people can see you or comport yourself in a way that a bug-eyed angry pic of you couldn't be caught. [How many top level coaches are there for whom who you can't Google up an unflattering, out-of-control-looking pic? I Googled "angry coaches" and … boy there's lots of pics. Are they all abusers?]
  • Coaching college basketball, where the playing space is intimate, personal, continuous and fast-paced (that takes place in front of huge audiences in real time and with both adult and young adult futures + $$ at stake) is a far cry from the dynamics of teaching math or coaching gymnastics, or most anything else. Definitely there is teaching involved in all coaching, but academic teaching and college coaching are far more different than they are alike -- there isn't/shouldn't be anything like the intimacy/emotion/complexity that necessarily is involved with college basketball coaching going between a classroom teacher and a student.
  • I do think Izzo went farther than he needed to with Henry (and I hope he would choose to dial it back, if he was able to redo it), but I didn't see abuse (JM-current-HO) in the videos that I saw, taken in context of the impressions I had before seeing them, along with consideration of the subsequent accounts of Izzo offered by people who've been part of his world.
I think most of this is fair. We don't know how Aaron Henry feels about this and we likely never will. The thing that really gets me is that we just don't accept this behavior in other parts of society. I know we can say it is difficult to compare, but if a teacher, boss, or parent did this to a student, employee, or kid, we would think they were nuts. Let alone doing it in public on national TV. Seriously, a teacher or boss would be fired, a parent would be getting investigated. It's not constructive behavior and it shows a lack of respect for the other human. Izzo further publicly declined to apologize and defended his behavior to the press. "What's wrong with challenging a kid that makes some mistakes?" I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, and I've been challenged by teachers, coaches, parents, and bosses because of them. Never once did it look like that.

As a final note, I understand how Pardon and Kipper and Ayo's mom feel. But just because they are closer to the situation than we are does not necessarily mean they have a better understanding of it. I think it says something pretty damning about amateur athletics as a whole that players and families of players publicly state that they believe if a coach isn't screaming in your face it's because they don't care about you. That is disturbingly close to victim abuse mentality.
 
#25
Without naming names I'm going to say a couple of posters need a timeout. 😁

Dare I weigh in? Ok. I might be more concerned about Izzos rant if he had a history of going off the deep end. Yes he yells at players as many top program coaches do....but this was during a tourney game and the yelling was about effort. I don't have a problem with it. I'm sure that the conversation has been elevated to a fever pitch because....well, controversy is what sells. I'm sure many of the people complaining the loudest included many people who are not even basketball fans. The fact that Izzo made his rant on national tv? Big deal. I have a daughter finishing her freshmen year at the beloved and one of my biggest concerns about being in college is the snowflake/victim culture that pervades virtually all of academia. I love talking about Illini sports on this board - it's a great escape from the daily grind AND I appreciate everyone bringing their opinions....including ones with which I disagree but the moment we are no longer free to express our opinions I will just stop participating. I think the criticism of Izzo is fair but somewhat overblown. There is far more danger in my opinion in putting social/political pressure to force people to behave a certain way than to allow them to speak and even be offensive. Id rather get chewed out by the coach than sit on the bench because the coach didn't dare do what he thought necessary to motivate me.
 
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