Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris was once a Michigan State freshman who had enough of Tom Izzo’s hell-raising, expletive-filled rants, bringing truth to power from a warning Draymond Green issued the previous summer. “If he comes at you, you gotta go back at him,” Harris recalled Green saying in 2012, when Green was preparing for the NBA draft and Harris was an incoming freshman from Indiana. “You can’t let him think you’re soft.”
When he saw Izzo light into freshman Aaron Henry during the Spartans’ first-round NCAA tournament win over Bradley on Thursday, Harris wasn’t the least bit surprised — although the social-media-fueled reaction caught him off-guard. “Izzo don’t have time for that. He’s a freshman anyway,” Harris told Yahoo Sports. “That’s his first tournament experience. Iz has been there [at the NCAA tournament] 22 straight years? I mean, he’s not trying to be a first-weekend exit. I don’t blame him. He should’ve cussed him out.”
Izzo’s teams have often been defined by their fire: tough rebounders, rugged players and strong leaders. Harris said recruits know that full well when they make the decision to play for Michigan State. “If you’re not strong minded, don’t go to Michigan State,” Harris said. “If you can’t take nobody yelling at you, getting on you when you’re not doing right, don’t go there. When it happens, it happens, you gotta deal with it.”