The head coach of Michigan State had no qualms about defending Loyer against Spartan supporters who were slandering his former player. Tom Izzo, the head coach of Michigan State, calls things as he sees them.
He has no qualms about criticizing one of his players. He isn’t scared to criticize Big Ten officials. He’s also not afraid to criticize his fans. Izzo genuinely cares about his players, as evidenced by the way they talk about him when they depart East Lansing. Izzo’s admiration for his players extends to those who leave the program, such as Foster Loyer of Davidson.
Izzo said he spoke with Loyer numerous times throughout the season and will likely speak with him again when the Spartans and Wildcats meet in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. During a four-game stretch in which Loyer was unable to play due to a leg injury, Michigan State’s head coach spoke with the junior. Izzo continues to check in with Loyer while also defending his former point guard, who he believes was abused by some during his three seasons in East Lansing.
“I just hope and pray that the same people who attacked him here don’t try to do it here,” Izzo said at a press conference on Monday. “The only thing that could spoil this for me is if people behaved the same way they did when he was here because I felt it was utterly ridiculous.” If someone from Michigan State does that, they can vote for someone else. That is how passionate I am about it.” Loyer was a Top 100 national recruit out of Clarkston High School in the 2018 recruiting class. As a freshman, he was offered a scholarship by Michigan State, committed to the Spartans as a sophomore, and was awarded Mr. Basketball in Michigan as a senior.
Before transferring to Davidson, he played three seasons in East Lansing, largely as a bench player and backup point guard. Loyer’s choice to quit the program, according to Izzo, was difficult, and it took several weeks of discussion between player and coach before Loyer made his decision. “When Foster left here, there was a two-week period of back-and-forth, pros, and drawbacks,” Izzo explained. “And, rather than just going in [to the portal] like in current times – as weak people do, in my opinion – he sat in my office and talked about it.” He didn’t just go sign his name on a page without the coach’s knowledge, did he? He accomplished things the correct way, not the easy way.”
Izzo made it obvious that the hostility directed against Loyer by some fans of the program does not sit well with him. “No one deserves some of the atrocities that have occurred to people, and I certainly don’t deserve it sometimes,” Izzo added. That said, Izzo and Loyer will be on opposite sides of the field on Friday night, and the rivalry between the two will be alive and strong. “I’m not going to like him any more than he’s going to like me on that night,” Izzo remarked. “So that’s the tournament’s allure. It’s not always about liking your opponent; it’s also about respecting them.
He’ll be treated with the utmost deference. I’ll probably take the youngster out of the game if he is fouled because I know [Loyer] won’t miss a free shot.” Loyer has one more year of eligibility after this season, but Izzo would like to share a sideline with him once more once his playing career at Davidson is finished.
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“My dream is for him to come back here as a [grad assistant] and work his way up because I believe he’ll be a coach someday,” Izzo said. “I can’t like him Friday night, but I can appreciate and adore what he’s done for me and a lot of people,” he said, echoing what he’s said about several of his opponents.