When Tom Izzo kicked guards Korie Lucious and Chris Allen off the team during Michigan State's tumultuous 2010-11 season, the Spartans coach never went into detail about the reasons for their dismissals.
Izzo agreed to elaborate further Tuesday now that both Lucious and Allen have publicly admitted repeated marijuana use was the culprit.
Asked on the “Mad Dog in the Morning” radio show in Lansing about Allen and Lucious coming clean, Izzo acknowledged he felt like he had little choice but to dismiss the guards when he became aware of their drug habit. Izzo's answers were transcribed by Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press.
"Coaches put up with a lot, just like parents do,” Izzo said. "I mean, nobody throws their kid under the bus if he makes a mistake. But if the kid repeats the same mistake over and over, then it’s not a mistake, it’s a habit. When it becomes a habit, those things are hard to handle."
Allen and Lucious both transferred to Iowa State, the former averaging 12.2 points per game as the Cyclones' starting shooting guard during the 2011-12 season and the latter averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 assists as the starting point guard last year. The two former Spartans both addressed their marijuana use separately this summer, Allen in a Facebook post and Lucious in an interview with blackathlete.net.
Said Allen, "To athletes who smoke WEED its not worth it, Yeah it makes you happy and forget all the BS you thought your coach was on with you but at the same time it's a easy way to get you out of a respectable program."
Said Lucious, "I was smoking a lot of weed at Michigan State. That's the real reason I got kicked off the team and I let my mom, family and friends down."
Lucious called Michigan State a great program but acknowledged Izzo may not have been the best fit for him as a coach. The ex-Spartans guard said his former coach "just didn't respect my game," citing the example of Izzo screaming at him for being an "And1 Streetball" player anytime he needlessly dribbled between his legs.
Izzo responded to those comments as well in his radio interview, noting that he has a good relationship with Allen now that the guard has matured and apologized for his behavior but he and Lucious haven't spoken much.
"I guess I almost appreciate him saying we have a good program, I’m a decent coach, it’s just I don’t want to put up with the ‘And1’ stuff," Izzo said. "I mean, I’ve put up with a lot of stuff from a lot of players. And his scoring didn’t change that much at Iowa State. You can change addresses, but you better change your character before you can really change. And I think that’s the lesson I try to teach all guys."
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