Izzo Talks Lucas' Injury And Northern Iowa

I felt bad for him because I could -- I could feel the tears of joy and the tears of sorrow at the same time. I just felt bad for him. I told him I loved him...Tom Izzo on Kalin Lucas

Q. Wondering about Kalin, what's the prognosis there?

COACH IZZO: It looks like it might be a torn achilles to be honest with you. And that poor kid, he was devastated and I wish you all could have been in the locker room when we went out at the end and everybody went into this little room he was in and maybe one of the prouder moments I've had as a head coach is the way they -- we all talked to him and went out. But it's a shame for him. But it's part of athletics and we're just going to have to move on and don't know that for sure, so it's not a diagnosed thing as far as there's been no X-rays or MRIs or anything, but the prognosis is 85 percent of that.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Draymond Green. You've mentioned his role on the team before and obviously he did a couple dramatic things at the end but just what he's meant to the team and also what was your Magic Johnson reference about with him?

COACH IZZO: Well, I just pulled him and Ray and said right when I walked in the locker room they told me that K was done and I said, you better be Magic Johnson quick because you two guys are going to be point forward here. You're going to have to handle the pressure. I think Korie must have got hit in the head in the bottom of that pile. We knew as soon as they found out Kalin was out that they were coming at us like sharks on blood. And I understood that.

Give Gary a lot of credit for that. But you know, it wasn't like we didn't handle it with our scheme. We just got fatigued and the lineups in there and poor Delvon, I mean the guy that's missing most is Delvon Roe, because there's just no way him or Chris Allen probably shouldn't have played at all and he just kept saying, I got one more for you, coach. And Chris, a guy that most of you know I haven't ever called a toughest cookie in the jar, he really came through.

So I look at Raymar and Draymond as they had to do more of the ball handling and Ray did a great job, Ray did a heck of a job, he had to cover a guard who's been playing the four, he had nine rebounds, he had 17 points, you can look at the turnovers, blame them on me, I'm the one that put him in that situation, not him.

Q. Obviously there have been a lot of amazing wins in Michigan State basketball history, but can you step away from the emotion of this moment and kind of rank where this is?

Chris Allen told me he thought that Korie's shot could go down as one the best ever. Just the way you had to really mix up the lineups and the way you guys had to really scrape for this one and with all these different guys hurt, all these different guys out, just how -- what it means and how it ranks for you.

COACH IZZO: Well it does rank very high. I don't want to get dramatic and say it's the first round -- it's the first round of the NCAA tournament, but where it really might have ranked high is telling this team a little bit about why you got to be a better teammate and why you have togetherness and why you got to have people's back and why everybody is part of the team.

And Durrell, he grew up a lot in the last two weeks. As he says, at half court to me, I still got a long ways to go, coach and I said, yes, you do. But I like the direction you're headed and you're on the right road.

But I can't believe Ray's stats when I look at them, and the minutes he had to play and under the pressure he did. You're right, nobody knows about Delvon's -- you all know about it, but you don't know what he's going through and Chris Allen, a kid who couldn't walk yesterday. I mean he was in treatment for 24 hours. And he says to me today, I can go whatever minutes you get me in and out for a minute or free throws at the end.

And I took my team over to Gonzaga last night for a half hour just to shoot free throws. And Chris couldn't do anything. And I said, take your brace off, walk to that free throw line and knock down five free throws because at the end of the game tomorrow we're going to need you. I'm going to put you in. And I reminded him of that and he made all five. And didn't have to shoot them. But it was big for us.

And yet make sure you give some credit to Maryland. The comeback was unbelievable. It was the perfect Gary Williams -- Vasquez, I just love that kid, he's tough. You know what, it was a tough, hard-nosed game, but nothing worked. And it was -- that should go down as a great basketball game as far as two teams that played their tails off.

Q. You talk about point forwards, what kind of impact do you think Draymond could make now knowing the needs you have ball handling-wise?

COACH IZZO: Well, he's going to have some, I'm hoping that Chris now with a week off will get back some. But I'm going to use both those guys in that role some. We're going to have some interesting practices here in the next three, four days. Just because we're down to that. Now Northern Iowa, I got to be honest with you, I saw about five minutes of that game and I didn't look at anything else, and I really don't plan on looking at anything else until Monday morning.

I think I'm going to enjoy -- rock this plane all the way home and have some fun because God only knows we deserve to have some fun for the next 10 hours and we're going to do that.

But we're going to definitely use those two guys, just what I call them, point forwards, and maybe they will show up and help us out a little bit.

Q. I don't know, I guess sometimes the older I get the more amazed I am at resiliency of 18 to 22 year old guys, but you had a game today you play your best ten minutes then you lose your star, you're able to extend the lead, you get down to two minutes left in the game you're still in complete control. What is it about these guys once it got down to nut-cutting time that the panic didn't set in?

COACH IZZO: Well I think it set in a little bit, but the stretch of the game that was unbelievable was the middle of the second half when we must have came down four times in a row we had a back door, we had a lob, we had a three, I mean everything we called, the execution was as good as it's been. And of course we finished with some baskets, but then we really got fatigued.

Delvon, he hardly even knew he was going out there on the press breakers and things. And Austin and Mike Kebler, they have never been in together that much when somebody's pressing. Usually it's the end of a game, you know. And

so resiliency? I think as I said, you go through enough battles all year and you try to hold people accountable all year, and I think it was Mike Garland in the locker room said, hey, Durrell, you reminded me of Morris Peterson. And around our place that's reference. That's as high a compliment as you can give because he did grow and he did make some great plays and he worked his tail off and he was fun to coach and so I think that's the most rewarding thing for me.

Q. After Lucious hit shot, talk about the way Kalin went out, you guys shared an embrace at center court, what did you say to each other and what did that moment mean to you?

COACH IZZO: I felt bad for him because I could -- I could feel the tears of joy and the tears of sorrow at the same time. I just felt bad for him. I told him I loved him, because I know how hard this is and I said, you know, I've been through this with Cleaves when he was hurt his senior year and hurt in the tournament game and things worked out for him later on and I just told him I appreciated him getting back out on the bench and trying to help us from a bench standpoint.

He said a couple things to me, he talked to a couple players. He too grew. A lot of guys that grew, they're all the same size, but hearts and heads are a lot bigger than they were in a positive way and I'm going to try to enjoy that. I love Spokane. So thanks.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, coach. Thank you.


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