Answering Your #4 Michigan State Basketball Questions and Emails

Tom Izzo takes a moment to talk to Jaren Jackson at Indiana.  (PHOTO:  Tom Ackerson)
Tom Izzo takes a moment to talk to Jaren Jackson at Indiana. (PHOTO: Tom Ackerson)

Answering Your #4 Michigan State BasketballQuestions and Emails...

Hondo why does this basketball team seem so flat? Joe Lopez

With all due respect, this team is fourth in the nation, riding a six-game winning streak and they have a record of 22-3, 10-2 Big Ten. If that is “Flat” there are over 180 basketball teams in the nation that would love to be, “Flat.” People forget that they are getting every teams best shot. Are they playing perfect? No, but there isn’t a perfect team. MSU is fine.

Hondo what is wrong with Miles Bridges. He just doesn’t seem to be himself? Terry Reiss

Again I ask like the above question what do you want from him? He stayed at MSU costing himself millions of dollars. He is the only player in the country averaging at least 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and one block per game. There was only one Michel Jordan and Magic Johnson and there is only one Miles Bridges. He is an NBA lottery pick and is fine.

Hondo I agree with Dan Dakich about Miles Bridges not having a second dribble. Do you? Max Garrett

With all due respect, if you get your basketball wisdom and analytics from Dan Dakich there is no need for me to enter the conversation. You and Dan can have that without me.

I really like Jaren Jackson and the way he plays. In his interviews, he seems lighthearted and fun. I like him a lot so this isn’t a negative on him, he just seems to be more carefree and fun. Our guys seem uptight. Elijah McSwain

I wouldn’t use the term carefree. He isn’t. He is an exceptional student and person. Remember that many kids his age are still in high school. Kids his age are actually juniors or seniors in high school. He is very young and while I agree he is lighthearted and fun, I would not call him carefree. He truly cares about people, his school work is paramount to him and he loves basketball. What I think you miss is that his parents are both extraordinary people and have done a great job or raising a star with no ego or narcissistic sense of entitlement. Like Miles Bridges, he is a blue-collar star. Bridges and 3J, whenever they leave Michigan State, will not only be among the best to ever play here, but they will be two of the best human beings to ever wear the jersey.

As you know I am a large donor. If you choose to use this email for your mailbag I ask only that you not use my name. While I am a Democrat I had no issues with Governor Engler being made the Interim President. I voted for him for his last two terms and the position is not political. What I did take issue with was his, “Bold statement” as you called it when saying MSU would not look at any internal candidates for director of athletics. I had always hoped that if Mark Hollis were to leave that Tom Izzo would be offered the job. Do you think Tom would be good at it? Do you think since he is a coach that he would be considered “internal”? Warmest regards friend, (Name withheld)

First, let me say that I think it would be bad if Tom Izzo isn’t at least approached about the job. While I am a close friend of his, I can tell you that I have no idea if he would take it. But he is an amazing fundraiser and he unites the fan base while completely understanding the landmines that surround Michigan State. Add to that if he turns it down you have included him in the process. There are plenty of great candidates from outside Michigan State. But fans and the school must look past the Mark Dantonio and Izzo era. Short-sighted thinking killed Michigan State post-Duffy Daugherty and it can here. An outside person can do a great job here, but that job would be SIGNIFICANTLY better with Izzo on board and I don’t mean with a public comment of support, I mean genuinely. MSU has exceeded expectations when you look at funding and the overall situation compared too many other schools. That was not by accident. MSU must tread carefully or they could fall to being insignificant relatively quickly.

Hondo do you think that Mark Hollis leaving will expedite the retirement or leaving of Tom Izzo? I am not asking you to speak for him as I know you are friends, just your opinion. Tim Price

Great question. Speaking only for myself, I do not think that Hollis leaving expedites his leaving, but the new AD & President hires could. Those hires are critical and must be home runs.

Hondo I remember years ago when Mark Hollis wanted to change the Spartan logo and President Simon stopped him after a public outcry you said that you would address it at the end of your career. That has always stuck with me. Not sure, but with both gone now can you address it now? I would love to hear that. Lindsay P.

While not necessarily a basketball question I will address it here. Back when Nike wanted to change the logo, Michigan State then Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director John Lewandowski reached out to me on behalf of the athletic department. I was asked about selling the school my Spartan Nation log. That was back in 2009. In 2007 we had a graphic artist design our own log (that we still used today) and the look that Nike wanted was similar. I was unwilling to sell, but I found out about the coming decision that they were going to change it. Ironically I learned that then-President Lou Anna K. Simon had wanted the change and that then-Athletic Director Mark Hollis had, “Strongly warned of the backlash and anger” that would accompany such a decision. Hollis didn’t want to do it. I was told by several athletic administration people that and later had it confirmed from folks within the general administration. So when President Simon (Due to the public backlash) made her statement of sticking with the current logo, folks tore into Hollis and praised her bold stand. What they didn’t know was that it was Hollis who was 100% against it. Like a good soldier, Hollis took the public flogging and President Simon got the praise. When I approached Hollis about telling that story he asked me not to do it at the time. He had real concerns that President Simon would have thought it came from him. It wasn’t. But it was a great example of politics writing the false narrative of reality.

Hondo with all the crap surrounding the hoops team with ESPN, do you think there is a story that is being under told? Something good? Thanks for all you do. Kevin C. Laingsburg, MI

There is a story not getting as much love. I will actually cut and paste it here from the game notes: “When Michigan State beat Indiana on Feb. 3 at Assembly Hall it was not only the team’s sixth-straight win and a regular season sweep of the Hoosiers ... The win moved MSU Head Coach Tom Izzo into second place among all coaches for career Big Ten Conference wins, breaking a tie with former Purdue coach Gene Keady ... Izzo now has an all-time record of 266-122 ... Former Indiana Head Coach Bob Knight is the all-time leader with 353 wins.”

Hondo what is your read on MSU basketball recruiting? Cody Jackson

They are in good shape. That said, I think there are some guys who grew up wanting to be Spartans that could be left out. MSU is in on some great players that if they commit will leave some other guys on the outside looking in. This class is going to be interesting to watch closely how it comes together. I never understood players at any school that calls a place their, “Dream offer” or “Dream school” and then get the offer and waits. As soon asTom Izzo and Michigan State offer other schools come running in to take a look and coaches, family and players get mesmerized by the love. I tell recruits all the time, whatever school is your dream school if they offer take it. Why wait and lose that chance.

Cassius Winston is only a sophomore and in his first year as a starter, how do you think he is doing? Derrick Morse.

I think Cash has really matured as a player. In fact yesterday he got a real big honor. “Cassius Winston was named one of 10 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, this honor recognizes the top point guard in men’s college basketball.” He is only a sophomore and a first-year starter, but I love where his game is at. I can also tell you that in this age of one and done people forget that it takes time for 99% of players to develop.

Hondo what is your take on Iowa basketball? Any prediction for Tuesday? Steve Wade

Iowa has four players scoring in double figures. They can score points. In fact, Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring offense and 14th in the league in scoring defense. MSU will get their best shot, but you can’t turn on and off your defensive intensity. While the Hawkeyes love to score, their lack of passion on defense will be why they lose. Make it Michigan State 81-64.

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There you go, everyone. Another week of your MSU Basketball Q and A in the books. Make sure to send in your questions for next week. Simply email them to and put weekly Q and ABasketball in the subject line.