Michigan State fans are ecstatic tonight because Tom Izzo announced that he will be staying at MSU, turning down a five-year, $30 million contract for one that makes half as much at MSU. But what do they have to be happy about? Teflon Tom just showed that his love of MSU, which has been the cornerstone of his ability to get his players to perform as well as they possibly can, can be bought for the right price and the right situation.
Cleveland wasn't the right situation for him, but the fact that he took nine days to decide it speaks volumes about his "love" of MSU. How can any player, especially the two seniors who he talked back into the same school he was willing to leave for the same NBA he talked them out of, take anything Izzo has to say at face value again? Players, administrators, fans, and recruits will now take anything Izzo says with a shaker full of salt. This cannot end well for Izzo. I can see the "Izzone" becoming the "Isn't-zone" within a couple of years.
Nobody does indignation better than people from Michigan. I grew up in Michigan and have lived in AZ, CA, IL, and FL, and it isn't even close. My experience has been that Michigan people are as loyal as it gets. But if you fuck someone from Michigan over, you have an enemy for life. I cannot imagine a few players, fans, and admins at MSU not feeling fucked over and fulfilling the "enemy for life" role right now.
As Mike Leach can attest, looking at other jobs and making enemies in the administration isn't all that great for one's employment outlook. Even if nobody in the MSU administration pulls anything as drastic as what was done to Leach, I still see his best-case scenario to be like that of Billy Donovan. Since Donovan left Florida for the Magic and then changed his mind, his team hasn't been close to being as good as they were. Donovan hasn't been able to replace the great class that won two straight championships for him, and the players he does have make a lot more mental errors now. His great program is now a good program.
I can easily see the same thing happening to Izzo that did to Donovan. His players will start to tune him out, and their hundred percent will change to about ninety-five percent. That will lose them three or four more close games this season, and should get them ousted in the first or second round of the NCAA Tournament. Then, the next recruiting class won't be quite up to the level to which he is accustomed.
Soon, Izzo will have completed turning a great program into a decent one. Sorta like David Ledbetter did to Charles Howell. But that is a story for another day. Or another blog.