Serious Beef Brewing Between Michigan State Coach and Star Guard?

durrell summers

Last March, Michigan State Spartans star Durrell Summers saw a breakout NCAA Tournament propel his NBA
Draft stock. A probable second round pick, Summers instead came back to
school, and now sees his stock falling. The primary questions that
surround his potential -defense and heart- are now flaring up again.

And Summers isn't getting any help from his own Head Coach Tom Izzo
on these topics. Answering a reporter's question is one thing, but one
could say he's actually gone out of his way to call Summers out in the
past three press conferences.

It all started in the home overtime win over Northwestern.

Tom Izzo

According to

"Durrell was not feeling like he was doing anything right," Izzo
said. "And I don't know if he didn't want to go in, but he sure wasn't
very enthused. And so, if he's not enthused, he's going to sit. If he's
not enthused the next game, he's going to sit. If he's not enthused the
game after, he's going to sit. If he is enthused, he's going to play.
Pretty simple."

Summers was benched the following game, but still played heavy minutes as the Spartans lost on the road to the Illini. Here's what Izzo said that night.

"I liked his demeanor a little bit better. I didn't like the one I
saw the other day, but he's going to have to keep earning his minutes,
and become a better team guy, and I like what I saw in that respect.
And if that continues, he'll continue to play and if he doesn't- he

Then came Saturday night's destruction at Purdue.

Izzo called Summers a "ghost" and made sure to tell the media that Summers efforts defending E'Twaun Moore, who scored 19 of his 26 points before halftime, were" non-existent."

Later, Izzo went the "damning with faint praise" rout, as he gave Summers an obvious extremely back-handed complement.

"I thought the second half was the first time in three years that
Durrell Summers, I don't think I talked to him about a defensive lapse.
That's big for us. If he starts checking somebody, we're going to be a
better team. To Durrell's credit, you know, I've been on him enough for a
lifetime, but he really did a lot better job in the second half."

So clearly that's how the Izzo-Summers relationship works in the East
Lansing family. Coach is exceedingly tough love on his star player. But
why go out of the way to single him out when the entire team defense
was so atrocious?

Purdue shot 58 percent from the field, the best any team has shot
against the Spartans since they lost a first-round game in the 2006 NCAA
tournament to George Mason, who shot close to 60% as they made the
Spartans their first victims on the way to the Final Four.

Yesterday, Izzo suspended Korie Lucious for the rest of the season. In the offseason, Izzo dismissed guard Chris Allen
from the program. So the Spartans have technically had three (for lack
of a better term) "problem children" in their program in 2010 (Allen,
Summers, Lucious).

Either way the buck has to ultimately stop with Izzo. He's either a.)
becoming too hard line for this players or b.) failing to find the
chracter he's looking for when recruiting his players.

Is Summers the next player to be formally and harshly disciplined? Stay tuned.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports He's also a regular contributor to the Tribune's Chicago Now network, Walter, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

He does a weekly radio segment on Chicagoland Sports and

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

Leave a comment

  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Advertisement:
  • Fresh Chicago News

  • Meet The Blogger

    Paul M. Banks

    Fulbright scholar in media studies, MBA, small media business owner, Published author, Founder of The Sports, a Fox Sports affiliate Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Former political writer for Washington, NBC and numerous business journals Credentialed for: United Nations, Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship, Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, and NBA Playoffs. Been featured on: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Live, The History Channel, CBS and ESPN radio. Does weekly segments for NBC and Fox Sports Radio stations across the nation.

  • Categories

  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: