Here we go again.
Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo had another heated exchange with one of his players during the NCAA tournament. And it brings back to light the debate of where the line is for hard coaching.
On the final play of the first half against UCLA at Mackey Arena, there seemed to be a miscommunication on defense between MSU’s Malik Hall and Gabe Brown. It led to a open jumper made by Jaime Jaquez Jr. to end the half.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo heads into the locker room as he talks with forward Gabe Brown at halftime during the First Four of the 2021 NCAA tournament at Mackey Arena on Thursday, March 18, 2021.
Brown and Hall shared a brief exchange about the mishap on defense as MSU was going into the tunnel to go to their locker room.
But that’s when Izzo got up close with Brown, beginning a back-and-forth.
As Brown turned away, Izzo grabbed Brown’s arm. As Brown pulled away and continues up the tunnel, Izzo then tried to hold on to the back of Brown’s jersey.
Despite the Spartans holding an 11-point lead at the break, the TBS halftime show, featuring TNT NBA stars Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, along with longtime college basketball insider Andy Katz, focused on Izzo’s reaction. Barkley didn’t seem to have a problem with it, while Smith bristled at the idea of Izzo grabbing Brown.
It was in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2019 when Izzo raised eyebrows by screaming at then-freshman Aaron Henry during a break in the action.
The exchange didn’t seem to bother Henry.
“It wasn’t like he was going at me, but it was almost like he was helping me because I wasn’t getting it through my head,” Henry said before the 2019-20 season. “I wasn’t playing hard. He was just trying to get me to understand it. I can’t be mad at him for it. … I don’t know if he knew I was prepared for it, but I guess he saw I was prepared for it.
“I’m gonna accept everything he says, because he doesn’t want anything for me but the best.”
Several former MSU players quickly defended their former coach on social media, including Draymond Green and Delvon Roe.
Typical Michigan State exchange… move on RELAX!
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) March 19, 2021
Haters, gone say that ain’t a good look wit Izz and Gabe Brown. Ima tell you, that’s WINNING basketball!!
Get in each other face , it might not look pretty but it shows you give a damn! #TheSpartanWay 🤷🏾♂️
— Delvon Roe (@DelvonRoe10) March 19, 2021
Contact Kirkland Crawford: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Gabe Brown have heated exchange vs. UCLA