December 17, 2012

Izzo on two-a-days, and recruiting

EAST LANSING - Holiday two-a-day sessions already seem to be agreeing with Tom Izzo's Spartans.

Izzo put his team through a late-morning practice on Monday, prior to departing for Bowling Green, Ohio, where the Spartans will play on Tuesday night (7 p.m., ESPNU).

Izzo said it was the best practice of the year, particularly for Derrick Nix and Branden Dawson.

"It's just good to have final exams over, not having to meet with any tutors and just focusing on basketball," said Nix, who posted the second double-double of his career, Saturday night.

The practice was upbeat and vocal.

"I think they were enjoying it," Izzo said of Monday's practice.

Izzo emphasized better screening during Monday's practice.

"We made more shots cause you set better screens and you make better passes," Izzo said. "It all goes hand in hand and you play with better energy.

"I think today they were hungry and they understand. We know we haven't played as well as we can.

"I feel a lot better about our team today. I just like the demeanor of them."

No. 19-ranked Michigan State (9-2) will face a 5-4 Bowling Green team which has won three of its last four, including victories over Detroit, Wright State and Samford.

Izzo put the Spartans through a light practice Monday evening at Bowling Green. The Spartans also practiced twice on Sunday and will practice twice on Wendesday and Thursday, then a single session on Friday prior to Saturday's game against Texas at Breslin Center (2 p.m., ESPN2).

Recruiting Countdown

Look for Izzo to travel to Chicago on Wednesday to watch prized recruiting target Jabari Parker and his Chicago Simeon team play against Carver Military Academy.

Parker is due to make his college choice on Thursday, on ESPNU. His father says it is likely between Michigan State and Duke for the nation's No. 2-ranked player.

"As you know, I can't comment on it," Izzo said, when asked about recruiting generalities on Monday. "I really have no comment because I have no clue. So if anybody can read our recruiting situation, call me.

"It's a big week. In recruiting, sometimes you have regrets either way. I have no regrets in what we've done in recruiting this year. We have decided to do it a certain way and we have done it that way and we didn't sign anybody early. So I actually feel great about everything."

Mentor Mo Pete

Izzo said he liked the fact that his players stayed on the court long visiting with former players long after Friday night's ending to the Alumni Game.

"I think it had a big impact," Izzo said.

Branden Dawson spent a lot of time with Morris Peterson.

"Morris said, 'We had a good talk about things,'" Izzo said. "I told Morris, 'Why don't you tell him how hard first year and a half was?'

"And Morris said to me, 'Do we have a week here?'"

Peterson had some trying time as a redshirt freshman prior to blossoming into a two-time All-Big Ten selection and NBA player.

Briefly ...

  • Izzo likes the fact that Michigan State leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense, and wonders how much that figure would improve if his team hadn't given up several turnovers for lay-ups this year.

    "Our defense is probably better than I've given it credit for," Izzo said.

  • Izzo believes Nix had gotten into the habit of pacing himself earlier in the year, due to the need for the big senior to play extended minutes. That's not a good thing.

    Izzo wants Nix to play harder, and play fewer minutes, like he did on Saturday.

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