NCAA

Gary Williams defends Tom Izzo's coaching style after controversial moment with player

Gary Williams defends Tom Izzo's coaching style after controversial moment with player

Former Maryland men's basketball head coach Gary Williams is sticking up for Michigan State's Tom Izzo after his heated interaction with player Aaron Henry during one of last week's NCAA tournament games. 

"I think a lot of the people that criticized Tom Izzo never played on a team, never coached a team and had no idea what they were talking about except they're part of a new generation that belives you shouldn't get on people, push people in that way," Williams said Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies.

Early in the second half of Michigan State's first-round matchup with the Bradley Braves, the Hall of Fame coach lost his cool while speaking to the freshman forward after a defensive mistake. Izzo at one point had to be restrained by a fellow player.

The video of the interaction quickly went viral and Izzo received both criticism and support from those around the league.

For Williams, who was also known for his fiery temperament, it's part of being a head coach. 

"And Izzo's Izzo. He's not going to change," Williams added. "He coach with Jud Heathcote when I was coaching at Ohio State back in the eighties. You know, you had to hold your ground and that's the way you coached and I coached the same way, and you get on players."

After the Spartans' 76-65 win, Izzo said he didn't see anything wrong with "challenging a kid that makes some mistakes."

"Aaron Henry -- trust me -- did some things that you can't do as a starter on a top-5 team at the end of your freshman year. They were effort-related," he said.

"I did get after him. He did respond. He did make a couple of big buckets. He did make some big free throws but that's not good enough. It's one-and-done time. The 'my-bads' are out the window."

While Izzo's perception on the court may be one thing, Williams knows off the court it's a whole different story between the head coach and his players.

"But the big thing Izzo does, and I tried to do, was once the game's over or once practice is over you've got your arm around the player, you're talking about different things in his life trying to get him to keep developing and making him understand that that's just basketball," Williams said. "You know, that was just that situation. I still love you, you know, you’re still the man that type of thing." 

Henry reiterated this sentiment as well after last week's game.

"I've heard worse from him,'' Henry said. “I’ve got it worse in practice before."

MORE NCAA NEWS: 

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Could Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. jump into 2019 NFL Draft's first round?

Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?

It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.

NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.

According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick). 

The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.

At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.

Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".

MORE NFL DRAFT NEWS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

jameer-nelson-jr-commits.jpg
USA TODAY SPORTS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday. 

Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season. 

This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College. 

Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign.