Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sports News

Tom Izzo declines to give camper scoop on plans

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[June 15, 2010]  EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Tom Izzo wouldn't even tell one of his young campers if he wants to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers or stay at Michigan State.

Izzo was at his basketball camp Monday when a boy tried to get the scoop, inquiring about the coach's interest in jumping to the NBA.

"Bad question," Izzo said. "Those guys up there want to know that."

Cleveland wouldn't mind an answer either.

But Izzo had nothing new to say Monday night, declining comment to two reporters waiting outside his office.

He's trying to stay quiet publicly until he has decided whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million -- doubling his salary -- and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.


Clearly, Izzo would like to know whether he would have LeBron James to coach next season.

A person familiar with the situation, however, told the AP that James has not spoken to Izzo about Cleveland's coaching vacancy, and the two-time NBA MVP has no plans to get involved in the Cavaliers' search. James has stayed clear of the Cavs' pursuit of Izzo and will remain on the outside, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team and the school are not commenting on Izzo's status.

James recently said in an interview that he will not lobby for any coach and is unlikely to comment on his future before free agency begins on July 1.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and general manager Chris Grant declined comment Monday.

That hasn't stopped media in Michigan from trying to get clues, or an answer, from Izzo.

A pack of reporters, six TV cameras and two photographers were given limited access to the camp as Izzo addressed hundreds of boys and many of their parents at the Breslin Center, where his championship and Final Four banners are in the rafters.

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Izzo tried to conduct business as usual at his camp, joking and giving the boys a sense of what the week would be like. "Our motto is: Learn to listen and listen to learn."

He used a few of his current players and a couple former ones to run the team's motion offense.

"The NBA does a great job of spacing," said Izzo, who made more than one reference to the league.

After Izzo sent the campers off to other gyms, he spoke to his wife, Lupe, for a few minutes. She later left in her car after waving to reporters and walking past a few of "WE (heart) IZZO" signs that were planted just outside her husband's office, as well as along the roads the Izzos take from their home to campus.

While the Cavs wait for Izzo, they're working on what seems to be Plan B.


Grant spoke by phone last week to Byron Scott, a former New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets coach. Scott fits the profile of the kind of coach Gilbert wants. But the three-time NBA champion guard for the Lakers could be waiting to see if Phil Jackson leaves Los Angeles. Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, has deferred all inquiries to the Cavs.

If Izzo leaves Michigan State, the list of possible successors likely would include Dayton's Brian Gregory, Tulsa's Doug Wojcik, Utah's Jim Boylen -- all once assistants under Izzo -- along with current Michigan State assistants Mark Montgomery and Dwayne Stephens. Both played for the Spartans when Izzo was a relatively unknown assistant for Jud Heathcote.

[Associated Press; By LARRY LAGE and TOM WITHERS]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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