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Michigan State basketball keeps pushing on without Izzo

Coach Izzo was diagnosed with COVID-19 on November 9
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:48 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State men’s basketball opens its season a week from now against Eastern Michigan. The Spartans have been practicing and getting ready for the season all without their head coach Tom Izzo.

Izzo contracted coronavirus over a week ago.

“It’s our job to really pick ourselves up and the other coaches to pick ourselves up too, so it’s been a little bit challenging,” said junior forward Gabe Brown. “It’s been very hard. I mean, just due to the fact that Coach Izzo is not here because he’s our coach and he’s the main guy that’s always at practice, always getting us hype.”

Izzo is the key factor to bringing this Spartan team to life. His energy is surely missed, but he’s still there, only in a different way. He’s now watching on a camera from home.

“Every time we get into a huddle, he calls, sees the things that he sees on the film as he says it’s a lot different to be in practice than not in practice, and that’s true,” said Brown.

“It’s just been a little bit different to get adjusted to,” said junior forward Thomas Kithier. “You know, we’ve had in the past, maybe, Coach misses a practice here and there, but it’s been totally different.”

It’s business as usual-no matter if Izzo is there or not. And whether or not there’s an official schedule, he’s preparing the team for its first matchup of the season next week.

“We’re coming up on a game, which is kind of crazy because due to COVID-19 and due to everything that’s going on in the world...for us to play is going to be crazy,” said Brown. “It’s crazy to me.”

The assistant coaches and players will continue to do their part and get ready to play. Not having Izzo there hasn’t stopped the basketball team, but they know this year will be full of unexpected challenges.

“It’s just going to be a different approach this year in a way. You just got to be ready for anything. We could be warming up ten minutes before a game, and something gets canceled. It’s just going to be different,” said Kithier. “I just think if we can control the tangibles of us staying safe, us wearing our masks, and doing stuff like that, then we’ll be okay.”

The Spartans are set to face Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, November 25, at the Breslin Center. The game time will be announced at a later date.

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