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Jeff Eisenberg

Tom Izzo's the real winner from Thursday's LeBron-a-thon

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From the narcissism of LeBron James, to the spitefulness of Dan Gilbert, to the softball questions of Jim Gray, almost nobody emerged from Thursday night's LeBron-a-thon with their reputations intact.

In fact, the only true winner in the LeBron sweepstakes may be the man who a month ago chose to disassociate himself from the whole mess.

If Tom Izzo's decision to turn down an offer to coach the Cavs looked smart when he made it, his choice to remain at Michigan State appears downright brilliant now. Instead of trying to uphold his owner's promise to win a championship before LeBron with a team of Christian Eyengas and J.J. Hicksons, Izzo returns a title-contending team at Michigan State next season and has a top-five recruiting class coming in.

The opportunity to coach the Cavs certainly intrigued Izzo more than any other previous job offer. He had reportedly grown weary of the recruiting grind, he got along well with owner Dan Gilbert and he was captivated by the chance to challenge himself in the NBA and coach one of the sport's all-time greats in his prime.

Ultimately, however, Izzo couldn't commit to the Cavs without assurances that LeBron was returning, especially since the King wouldn't even speak to him throughout the entire process. Looking back, it probably speaks to how serious Izzo really was about the NBA that he remained torn over what to do for so long without any sort of commitment from LeBron.

Izzo has yet to speak publicly since LeBron's announcement. If he's honest when he does, he'll surely admit he's relieved not to be in Cleveland.

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