Tom Izzo is a sucker for nostalgia, pageantry and patriotism. He basks in the glow of a well-conceived spectacle, whether it be an early season game on an aircraft carrier, a perfectly orchestrated senior day at the Breslin Center or a media-friendly open practice at the Final Four.
Izzo has traveled to Kuwait to visit American troops. He has warmly embraced veterans when they visit East Lansing. As a small-town boy who has reached great success, he represents the American dream.
Today, it was mentioned in the Detroit Free Press that Izzo might be a candidate to coach the 2016 US Olympic men's basketball team. I couldn't think of a better prospect for all parties involved.
Izzo loves the college game and thrives on nurturing young teenagers into responsible adults. The down side of consistently working with 18-22 year-olds is (generally speaking) the players' knowledge-base doesn't change.
Every year, it's the same thing. Formulaic, even. Immature freshman looking to battle-tested upperclassmen for leadership and guidance with Izzo attempting to mold the unit into a well-balanced team.
I've heard Izzo say the amount of knowledge professional players soak in is at least ten times what college players are able to comprehend. Given his propensity for complex offensive sets and multiple options on defense and out-of-bounds plays, it makes sense Izzo would want to work with the most talented, intelligent players in the world.
Aside from the fact he would have received a bigger paycheck, it's likely the top reason Izzo's weighed making the jump to the NBA on more than one occasion.
The Olympics would allow Izzo to coach the greatest players in the world, while keeping his roots in East Lansing, as a "Spartan for Life."
He could install his full complement of sets, but more important, he could manage the egos of the game's top players while commanding their respect due to his no-nonsense approach.
Players like Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would have to appreciate his impressive resume - six Final Fours and a national championship.
Izzo coaching the Olympic Team would be a sparkling feather in the cap of the Michigan State athletic program . Imagine the pride Spartans fans would feel with their head coach fronting the most visible team at the 2016 games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Away from the court, he would work with the smartest front-office minds in basketball, further enhancing his leadership ability while learning valuable lessons along the way.
He would put to use his unmatched media savvy, dealing with the international media in a manner not seen at the Olympic level since Chuck Daly coached the original Dream Team in 1992.
You couldn't ask for a better representative of the United States.
All this - and he'd probably walk from East Lansing to Brazil to do it.
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