Tom Izzo: “We’re creating a system where kids don’t learn to handle adversity”
Tom Izzo says more college athletes these days aren’t willing to stick through the hard times, but he’s not putting it on them. He’s blaming the people around them.
Izzo joined The Drive with Jack Ebling for a long interview and was asked about the biggest change in the coaching profession. He said it’s the influences kids have, and today’s media age has pushed it into overdrive. As a result, kids aren’t getting good advice.
“The profession has changed. Twenty years ago, it changed with talk radio, but talk radio didn’t even put a dent when you compare it to what social media and the internet has done,” Izzo said. “That’s changed everybody. We’re up to over 700 (basketball) players transferring already, and I heard we’re going to go over 800.
“We’re creating a system that we’re never teaching a kid how to fight through (tough times). There’s a lot of kids who should transfer for the right reasons. But 3/4 of the kids are transferring because they didn’t get enough shots, didn’t get enough ball, and didn’t do this or that. We’re helping create a society of, when the going gets tough, you bolt and leave.”
More than 700 college hoops players transferred last year. It was around 200 a decade ago. Izzo saw two players transfer out of his own program in the last month, but he's been supportive of them.
Again, he’s putting this swell on the people influencing kids, and it's not just transfers. Izzo often says today's players are taught to believe that, if they don't leave early for the NBA, they're failing. So there's more pressure to leave.
College programs fall into the category of influencers, too. Izzo pointed to the fact that coaching changes in all sports are more frequent than ever. When a program is moving on from a coach quickly, why wouldn’t a kid do the same with a program?
“I’m fortunate I’ve got as good of a president and AD as there is in the world, because there are some bad AD’s out there,” Izzo said. “You wonder why players do what they do, when AD’s are firing people who aren’t successful in one year. I wonder if Tom Izzo would still be here today going into year three back (when I missed the tournament in my first two years).
“I know Mike Krzyzewski wouldn’t have been. I know Dean Smith wouldn’t have been, according to all the people I talk to. We wonder why kids are feeling that way? It’s our society that’s creating that. It’s not the kids.”
Original Author: Chris Vannini