It was a simple layup drill, but even that was hard to execute for a bunch of slacking media members such as myself, who got a chance to hit the court yesterday at Michigan State basketball's media practice.
For a day, the roles were reversed, the media were the athletes and coach Izzo and the players got a few laughs, watching us prove to them exactly why we are in the media and not on the court.
But even coach Izzo treated the event like a real practice, screaming at me for my lack of hustle on defense, or jumping off the wrong foot on a layup. But it didn't matter, I was happy just having Izzo focus on me for a change, even if I was temporarily deaf afterwards.
The event started out with a brief film session, explaining a few drills we were going to run in the auxiliary gym. The media were split up into four teams, teams one and two were print media and three and four were broadcast.
After the drills, it was time to watch some more film, this time learning a few simple set plays to run during our scrimmage on the main floor.
Then we were ready to hit the court, despite many of us still gasping for air or in dire need of water.
But the scrimmage was intense, and it was a special feeling being under the bright lights in the Breslin Center.
I was on team one, which featured Joe Rexrode of the Lansing State Journal, Shannon Shelton of the Detroit Free Press, Dave Burkett from the Oakland Press and Sean Ely from the State News among others.
Our player coaches were Delvon Roe, Travis Walton, Tom Herzog, and Durrell Summers. By the way, Delvon has his knee brace off, says it feels good, and by just watching him shoot a layup, I can tell he is going to be one special player for the green and white.
I got the chance to defend guys like Seth Davis from CBS Sports and Mike Hall from the Big Ten Network.
Our team ended up taking home first place, but it didn't come without a price. As I sit here right now, my legs are terribly sore as I imagine many players are feeling it too.
A meal was provided afterwards, which replenished all the energy we had exerted on the court.
But the chance to be in the players' shoes for a day is an experience that nobody from the media will ever forget. The chance to get yelled at by coach Izzo, or even having your own locker in the fantastic MSU locker room.
As media members, what we take away from this event is the realization that most of us are out of shape and need to start working out more.
But with all jokes aside, the media practice allowed us to interact with the players and coaches on a different level than usual. For once, we weren't talking to the players as part of an interview or as part of our job, but we were there as players, talking strategy and getting tips from the players.
As far as how I did during the scrimmage, let's just say that I am a Travis Walton type, not a big scorer, but one heck of a defender. Zero points.
MSU Basketball Media Practice
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