Rothstein On Izzo: Our Society Is Afraid Of Confrontation

Jon Rothstein shared his thoughts on Tom Izzo's heated exchange with Aaron Henry

The DA Show
March 22, 2019 - 2:08 pm

Michigan State beat Bradley, 76-65, on Thursday to advance to the Round of 32, but much of the postgame chatter centered on Tom Izzo berating freshman forward Aaron Henry.

Some folks had a problem with that. Jon Rothstein did not.

“He’s constructively criticizing his player,” the CBS Sports college basketball insider said on The DA Show. “Does he coach hard? Does he coach (in a way) right now that probably isn’t going to be advantageous with social media and instant opinions? Yes. But I’m sure at one point in your career to get to the level that you’re at today, you had to face criticism. That’s all he’s doing. I think our society right now, because of the day and age that we’re in in 2019, is just afraid of confrontation. I think that is really what it is in a nutshell.”

No. 2 Michigan State trailed No. 15 Bradley 35-34 at halftime but outscored the Braves 42-30 in the second half. Henry, a starter, had eight points and three rebounds. 

He also had five turnovers.

“All he’s trying to do is make Aaron Henry a better basketball player,” Rothstein said, “and if he coaches hard and maybe in a way that’s a little bit more synonymous with the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s, then I think it’s more of a reflection and a snapshot of where we are as a society in 2019.”

Rothstein believes that today’s player, in general, is different than players, say, 10 years ago.

“Things are so pronounced on social media,” he said. “A kid and a player has the right and the access to have their own Twitter page, to have their own Instagram page, and they can pretty much come out and say, ‘I’m a transfer. I’m a free agent,’ and make themselves – not to be LeBron James, but to try to forecast that type of situation. It’s a much different dynamic right now for the college athlete to deal with than it was before all of this came to the forefront.”

Either way, Tom Izzo is going to be Tom Izzo. If recruits have a problem with that, well, they can sign elsewhere.

“I’ve spent a lot of time around Tom Izzo in the last 10 to 15 years,” Rothstein said. “He is not changing who he is. He is going to be real comfortable with Michigan State’s program, whether somebody wants to be a part of it or doesn’t want to be a part of it. Because right now, here are the facts: Michigan State doesn’t have its secondary scorer in Josh Langford. Michigan State doesn’t have its backup to its secondary scorer in Kyle Ahrens. And Michigan State is one of 32 teams playing, and they’re the Big Ten regular-season and tournament champions. He knows what he’s doing.”