Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, left, Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky, center, and basketball great Oscar Robertson pose for a picture as Kaminsky is awarded the the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association College Player of the Year award
Kiichiro Sato
April 03, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Tom Izzo was asked a fairly innocuous question Friday about whether he thinks social media is helpful or harmful to his players.

''I don't think social media is helpful to any human being on the planet,'' the Michigan State coach said.

OK then.

It wasn't the first time Izzo had made his distaste for Twitter clear. He says he doesn't worry much about what his players tweet. He's more concerned about what they might read.

''I challenge every human being in this room, if they start talking about your son, your daughter on the social media like they do players, there will be some fist fighting going on,'' Izzo said. ''If you can't go eye to eye with somebody, tell them what your problems are, then you don't belong talking to me or my players. So sorry, I'm not a fan.''

-Noah Trister


BADGER BADGERED: Frank Kaminsky may never get a harder bunch of questions than the ones he received Friday morning, when the Wisconsin forward was presented the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Player of the Year.

After the usual series of platitudes, the moderator opened the press conference to questions, and the first hand to shoot up belonged to Badgers teammate Nigel Hayes.

''What does it really mean to win this award?'' he asked, starting off with a softball.

''It means a lot,'' Kaminsky replied. ''It's been a long journey. It wasn't easy at times, but I just believed in the process and believed in myself.''

Things only got tougher from there.

Another teammate, Sam Dekker: ''Do you think not playing many minutes on your AAU team put a chip on your shoulder to get to this point?''

Kaminsky: ''Uh, yes.''

Yet another, Josh Gasser: ''Who is your favorite teammate?''

Kamsinky: ''All of them.''

To which the team replied, ''Awww.''

Kaminsky is a rarity in college hoops these days, a fourth-year senior who blossomed into one of the nation's premier players as an upperclassman. But to hear it from coach Bo Ryan, holding the 7-footer back - he averaged 10 minutes a game as a sophomore - was all part of the plan.

''I wanted to play him more as a sophomore, but the assistant coaches felt he wasn't quite ready yet - `But coach, if you hold him back, hold him back, he's the type of guy that will use that as fuel to come back his junior year and senior year as a better player,'' Ryan said with a wry grin. ''That's kind of how we do things at Wisconsin.''

-Dave Skretta


TRUE BLUE: Blue was cool at Friday's Final Four open practices.

When Michigan State took the floor at noon, almost half the crowd was already clad in one color - and it wasn't green.

And the droves of fans decked out in Kentucky gear arrived early, very early to get seats.

Anthony Smallwood left Columbus, Ohio, at 4:30 a.m. He arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium and 9 a.m. and the die-hard Kentucky fan was rewarded with a primo seat in the second row for the Spartans workout. He planned to stay in the same seat for more than 3 1/2 more hours.

''I'm not giving her up,'' he said. ''It's part of history, man, and I hope they make it.''

Smallwood is part of a large legion of Kentucky fans who consider Indianapolis a second home.

They dominated the colors at last year's regional finals at Lucas Oil, and again in November when they thrashed Kansas in November at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, a short stroll from the Final Four site.

And while some of the blue certainly belonged to Duke, who practiced at 1 p.m., most, like Smallwood, were clad in Kentucky gear.

''I can't afford a ticket to the Final Four,'' Smallwood said. ''So this is as close as I can get to the game.''

-Michael Marot


THE BIG O: Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan had a chance to meet one of his childhood idols.

The Badgers' 67-year-old leader said he got goosebumps sitting next to Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. Ryan was at the presentation Friday of the player of the year award named after from the USBWA. Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky won the award.

Ryan sounded like he was about to head back to a playground in his hometown of Chester, Pennsylvania while gushing about the player nicknamed ''The Big O.''

''When I was younger ... Oscar Robertson was always a guy who was in my 1-on-1 games. When nobody else was on the playground, it was Oscar against Jerry West, Oscar against somebody else.''

Oh, Ryan kept score.

''Oscar, you won more times than anybody else, just so you know,'' he said.

-By Genaro C. Armas


NIGEL'S WORD: Word of the day from Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes, the man who loves the NCAA stenographer: ''Prestidigitation.''

-Eddie Pells

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