Izzo On Henry Incident: "It Got Blown Out Of Proportion"

"It was one of the more ridiculous things," Tom Izzo said of the social-media outrage

Tiki and Tierney
March 26, 2019 - 5:32 pm
Tom Izzo Aaron Henry Michigan State

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Tom Izzo, as you may have heard, found himself in the social-media crosshairs after his heated exchange with freshman Aaron Henry during Michigan State’s opening-round win over Bradley last Thursday.

Izzo thought the encounter was blown out of proportion.

“Listen, I’m not perfect,” Izzo began on Tiki & Tierney. “You’re in the heat of the battle, we got a 30-second timeout, and if a guy isn’t doing what he’s supposed to be doing – and hasn’t done it over and over – I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘Would you please think about guarding somebody? Could you please run up and down the court?’ It was just one of those five-second clips that the social-media era can do and spin it a lot of different ways.”

Henry finished with eight points, three rebounds and five turnovers in the 76-65 win.

“If you watched on in that game, I didn’t pull him out,” Izzo said. “In fact, two plays later, I went to him in the post and he made a big bucket. If you knew his dad – who played football – it was, ‘I didn’t send him there to be pampered. I want him to be coached.’”

Henry was. He followed that performance with nine points, nine rebounds and three assists in a 70-50 win against Minnesota in the Round of 32.

“It got blown out of proportion,” Izzo said of the Bradley incident. “It was one of the more ridiculous things. I’ve done things that I’ve probably deserved to be held accountable (for), just like kids do. If that means I’m held accountable for this, I’ll take it. I’ll go with it. But I’ve spent a lot of time with these kids. I know who they are and what they are, and I know what they need. Different guys need different things. I don’t say much to Cassius Winston. He’s an A-student. He does everything right. I don’t have to say much to him. That’s the way it is.”

Henry, by the way, responded to Izzo in the heat of the moment. Izzo liked that.

“I need to know it means enough to them that it does bother them,” Izzo said. “Now, Draymond took that to another level. I had to be the one mediating when Draymond was with me. But I always look at it as if I can give it, I can take it, and everything is within the realm of winning. You do got to be more of a psychologist now than a coach. The Xs and Os aren’t as big of a deal as how do you get guys to do things that are incredible – and incredible means you’re still standing at the end.”

The kid is great,” Izzo continued, referring to Henry. “I love the kid. It’s something I’ll learn a little bit from. I’m not a social-media nut, but I’ll adjust and learn.”

No. 2 Michigan State (30-6) plays No. 3 LSU (28-6) on Friday at 7:09 p.m. ET. The Tigers have won 21 of their last 24 games. Combined margin of defeat? Nine points.

“I’ll be honest: This team is the most athletic team,” Izzo said. “All SEC teams are pretty athletic, but this team is athletic with size, with strength, with length. They don’t shoot it maybe as good at times. They’re sporadic shooting it. But when that ball goes up – and I’ve had some teams like this – the best offense was the missed shot. That’s what LSU has. They have very good athletes. When that ball goes up, they’re coming (for the offensive rebound).”