Izzo: We Have To Play With A Purpose

Izzo AUDIO, podium, Feb. 28
EAST LANSING - A six pack of the best quotes from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo's Monday press conference:
1. Anything Positive From Sunday?
"In the last five games, our defense has been pretty good. Our offense has consistently gotten a little worse. On Sunday with Draymond not shooting the ball well, he is our second option, it has created some problems. We still can't get Thornton and Summers to do much in that category.
"We let one play carry on to the next. I thought when Draymond missed two free throws early, I thought he let it affect three-fourths of his game.
"In these last five games, we have held teams to almost 40 percent, and two of them were Ohio State and Purdue, two of the hottest teams in the country."
2. On The Importance Of This Week:
"We are scratching and clawing to get into the tournament. The Iowa game was the worst we had played in a couple of years. Maybe they had something to do with it, but I'd say we had a lot to do with it too. So you kind of find out how your players feel about that. If they take it personal, then you come out and play hard and get some things done. If they don't, then you're in trouble. But I think we will. It's Senior Night and another home game and it gives us a chance to get above .500 in the league and that's how we are approaching it."
3. How Much Do You Talk About The NCAA Tournament When Trying To Motivate The Players?
"I don't ignore it but I don't talk about it all the time because there is enough pressure on them. But that is something that I think is important to all of them. It's important to me. So I don't ignore it. But I can't beat on it either. We have to play better. We have to play with a purpose and we have to play to win. Eventually you have to get wins."
4. How Concerned Are You About The Offense?
"Draymond hasn't scored as well, but when you go into practices like we did with him out for a week, and Delvon Roe not practicing for eight days, just the consistency is so difficult. Of three or four of our better shooters that we were supposed to have, two are gone. So it is no surprise that we have struggled in this area. Durrell is supposed to be one of our big two. Consequently if he is not scoring as well, you are going to have problems. You hope your defense can carry you. Against a team like Purdue it couldn't quite carry us enough."
5. Did You Lose All Of Your Momentum With That One Loss?
"No, because if you watch the tape, there was that one stretch for a couple of minutes in the first half, and then at the 11-minute mark in the second half it was still a 9-point game. There wee some good things that we did. We just didn't score. And give JuJuan Johnson credit. He started blocking shots at the end because we were trying to get the ball inside because we were missing outside shots. We had some good looks that we missed. I have never seen Green miss some of those shots that we missed. We needed to get a couple to get the crowd into it and get yourself into it and we never did.
"But I still look at it that we are going to have to win games defensively with the people that we have left. That still was fairly solid. And we have to improve our offense some. But I think you will see Draymond play better now as he goes."
6. When Your Team Sees Bad-Bounce Offensive Rebounds Become Second-Chance 3-Pointers, Is It Getting Harder to Bounce Back From Those Type Of Things?
"It would be nice for me to tell you that everybody is mentally tough, coaches and players. But you can only take so many setbacks and it starts affecting you. What we have to do now is try to reach down and realize that we have done some incredible things in the past. You can't live in the past, but somewhere it's inside of them. Has so much been thrown at them that it is more difficult? Probably.
"You kind of look at some things and feel snake-bit a little bit. But somehow a team that has a lot of players that have been to two Final Fours has to figure out a way to work their ways around that, and so do we as coaches."
Bonus. On Durrell Summers' Slump:
"It's been disappointing. I'm sure it is disappointing for him. It gets depressing for everybody, fans, coaches, but probably most importantly, the player.
"You go to him early, which we've done. And if you are not successful in that then you worry about that's the way the game is going to go. And if you let it just happen, he doesn't get active enough to get there.
"It's a tough situation. Everyone goes through slumps during a year. I don't think his is a slump as much as it is a matter of he just has to be more active to get more involved with things. A lot of the plays are for him. But you have to come off screens harder. You have to do things.
"He still works on his game. It's probably been hard to deal with what he has had to deal with the last couple of weeks.
"There still is no magic wand. It's not a magic wand, it's a working man's wand. Because it happened last year in the tournament, we know there is a run left in him, we all agree with that. But runs like that don't just happen. They happen for reasons. In the tournament, we played some teams that pressed us and we got him some open shots. But as you get to be a senior, there is more pressure on your shoulders. And when your senior year doesn't go like you planned, then there is even more weight on your shoulders.
"Today we'll try him again. We'll probably start him, because I usually start my seniors.
"You don't just quick-fix something. You don't just lose something and you don't just gain something. It's usually done over a period of time. The period of time is usually years. So you put everything together, and now when you're panicking a little bit you don't have as much to lean back on. I think that has hurt Durrell. But at the same time, he is in here working, he is capable of coming out of it, he is capable of having big nights, we just have to hope that that happens."