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Michigan State's Tom Izzo remorseful, but comes up short at the press conference

Michigan State's Tom Izzo remorseful, but comes up short at the press conference

Tom Izzo only wanted to talk about basketball.

On Sunday afternoon in College Park, Md., Izzo's No. 6 ranked Michigan State Spartans rallied from down 13 to defeat the Maryland Terrapins 74-66.

The win keeps Michigan State just 1.5 games behind conference-leading Purdue, but also provided one of the first true chances Izzo had to speak to the media in the wake of the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nasser, a Michigan State University doctor who was in charge of team medicine for the U.S. Olympics gymnastics program.

I just hope that everybody rallies behind this team a little bit, and I hope we all rally behind the survivors, and we make our community a better place," Izzo said during his postgame interview on CBS.

When he took to the dais in the Xfinity Center media room, Izzo tried to stick to the game, but it was clear what was on everyone's mind. 

"i've cooperated with every investigation and will continue to do so," Izzo said, before insisting that he will only answer basketball questions.

Izzo was then pressed by an ESPN Outside the Lines reporter."You understand of course we have a lot of questions and you have not given any answers."

Izzo's response: "Nope. And I’m not gonna right now. Sorry.”

But this is a basketball issue. It is a Michigan State university issue. it is a Michigan State athletics issue.

On Friday, an ESPN Outside the Lines report uncovered a litany of evidence that suggests Michigan State officials engaged in “denial, inaction, and information suppression” when made aware of sexual assault accusations against members of the men’s football and basketball teams.

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In 2010, two Michigan State basketball players were accused of sexual assault by a fellow Michigan State student. One of the players refused to speak with police, while the other player corroborated the victim's claims, evening stating "I understand how she would feel that she was not free to leave.” 

The two players involved — then-incoming freshmen Keith Appling and Adriean Payne — we're never charged, or reprimanded by Izzo. The same Outside the Lines report also stated that Izzo allowed undergraduate student assistant coach Travis Walton to continue to work with the team even after he was accused of punching a women at a bar. Another student claimed Walton had sexually assaulted her several months prior. 

When asked about Walton, Izzo did not have a lot to say.

"It's been hard to focus on basketball, because when I do, I feel guilty," Izzo said, trying keep the focus on his team's stellar second-half performance on Sunday. 

While Izzo has never been found guilty of covering up or deterring sexual assault accusations, there is no room for error given the current climate. Even Izzo, one of the "good guys" in college basketball, is not free from criticism. Izzo knows better than most that he's not just a basketball coach. He is an educator, a boss, an advocate, a spokesperson, and a role model.

March is typically when Izzo and his team shine. But March Madness can wait, because Izzo needs to shine now.

With the university president and the athletic director out of power, Izzo is in a position to be completely transparent and go above and beyond to help the victims, something both AD Mark Hollis and school president Lou Ann Simon did not do.

Izzo didn't "lose the press conference" per se, but he didn't win it either. Izzo wants to do what's best here. He feels for all those involved, but his words on Sunday weren't enough.

Izzo could have stepped up and been the guiding light, as he's been in the past. He wanted to talk basketball.

But this is a basketball issue and Izzo should have said more.

 

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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NBA Draft 2019: Maryland teammates Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan to declare for NBA Draft

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USA TODAY SPORTS

NBA Draft 2019: Maryland teammates Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan to declare for NBA Draft

Maryland hoops in College Park could look drastically different next winter. Sophomore Bruno Fernando and junior Anthony Cowan have declared for the 2019 NBA draft, the team announced Monday

Declaring during the early entry period and signing with an agent, as both players intend to do, makes both Fernando and Cowan eligible to return to school should they have other ideas before the draft. 

Fernando, the 6-foot-10 forward from Angola, popped off for 22 double-doubles during the 2019-19 season while finishing with averages of 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. The 20-year-old is expected to be a first-round draft pick. 

Fernando is reportedly being represented by Priority Sports, per NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig. 

Cowan led the way for Maryland last season, finishing with his team-leading 15.6 points and 4.4 assists per game. 

The Bowie, Md. guard currently ranks t-10th in program history in assists (437) and 23rd in points (1376). He's started in every game since arriving in College Park for the 2016-17 season. 

Although the 21-year-old isn't expected to draw serious NBA attention, he's still testing the waters for professional reasons. 

Here are upcoming dates to be on the lookout for: 

April 21 - Early Entry Draft Deadline

May 14-19 - NBA Combine

May 29 - NCAA Withdrawal Deadline

June 20 - NBA Draft

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