Answering Your MSU Basketball Questions and Emails...

Hondo S. Carpenter

Answering your Michigan State Basketball Questions…

Hondo, you seem to always nail it on the head when you predict recruits. I would like to hear your take on Jabari Parker, Demetrius Jackson, and James Young and whether or not you think they come to MSU.  Steve

Steve, let’s start with James Young. We told you back in December that we didn’t see him coming to MSU and I can tell you nothing has changed there. He will head out East probably, but not East Lansing. Demetrius Jackson is different. I think he is almost a borderline lock to MSU. Certainly a lot can change before signing day, but I am very confident he will wear the green and white. As far as Parker, I do not think he will be a Spartan. I have certain reasons that make me lean that way, but I do not have the confidence in my opinion or maybe certainty is a better word as I do for Jackson and Young.


Hondo, I noticed you didn’t think Keith would be the leader of this team next year. Would you care to elaborate? Kyle

Sure I do, Kyle. First, you need to understand that Day-Day was an elite rare leader. He is only second to Magic Johnson and maybe tied with Mateen if not ahead of him. You won’t replace him, but in the search for next year’s leader Appling has shown us NOTHING to suggest he has that ability. It doesn’t make a person a bad athlete, person, or player if they are not a leader, as some people just aren’t that. I can recount many times in his career when Izzo has cited him as having bad games and when asked he gets defensive or dismissive. If he were a freshman, I would say the jury is out, but by the time a player hits his junior year you should have at least seen glimpses and we have not. Key player? No doubt. Leader? Haven’t seen any sign at all that he is one. Please remember that I hope he does become one. It isn't that I don't like him, I just have to see it to believe it.


Hondo, if you had to pick one player this off season who needs the off season more than any other who would that be? I would think Nix with his off court trouble, but would like your thoughts. Carrie

Thanks Carrie. This one is easy for me. Russell Byrd.  He has had legitimate excuses with injuries for not having the past two,
but there are none this year. We will see how strong his “want to” is and where basketball ranks among his priorities. He has to make basketball his top priority this summer in the weight room, conditioning, and simply taking thousands of shots. He needs to be a gym rat. If he does, his ceiling is very high. There is an old adage that says, “If it is going to be it is up to me.”  That should be Russ’s motto.


Hondo, you seem to be dismissive about Nix and his situation. Do you think illegal drug use is no big deal? I have been disappointed in you and your stance. Dave

I have never used marijuana Dave. I am also not dismissive. I am, however, a realist. I understand that the general public doesn’t get to meet and know players. I get that. I also can see the hard line one and done stance by some fans. I simply
believe that people make mistakes. You have to take into account the person, the situation, and ask yourself the best course of action. What he did was dumb, ignorant, and stupid and whatever other adjective you want to throw at it. I also think that it was a crime that will yield no jail time and I don’t think Derrick Nix, not Spartan basketball, Derrick Nix the person is worth throwing away.  He is a genuine, kind, and a wonderful young man that did something dumb. I am guilty of having done dumb things, as are you I am sure.


In the past Hondo you have not been afraid to be critical of Tom Izzo. I would like your opinion on bringing back Nix and his comments about the media’s handling of the situation. Gordon

Great question. First, I think Tom Izzo did the right thing and I support his reinstatement of Derrick Nix 100%. That decision was without a doubt the right call in my book. As far as his media comments, I have a lot of thoughts.  Let me say that when Izzo alluded to people “Attacking” Derrick’s mom he should have immediately said who. I only know of one person who contacted Derrick’s mother and I know they didn’t attack her. Someone directly involved told me within 48 hours of Derrick’s arrest that the car belonged to his brother’s girlfriend. I asked if I could quote them and was told no. Because of their proximity to the situation, I asked if I could report citing sources close and was told an emphatic “NO!” I am not sure if the one reporter that I know had the same source, but I do know they had the same information I did and couldn’t run it, as I couldn’t. They called his mom hoping to get her to confirm it so they could stop the groundswell and put the rumors to rest. She hung up on them. I am not saying no one attacked her, but to say that painted us all as scum bags and many of us didn’t contact her and the one I know who did was doing it the right way.


With what has happened at OSU, UM, and other institutions for people to have asked about a player driving a car that was not
theirs, it is a germane question. It is how you ask the question. If Bobby Petrino’s passenger on the motorcycle had been his niece or granddaughter it wouldn’t have made the question of, "Who is the girl," wrong. I did hear some who immediately started asking in an accusative tone and that was reckless and ignorant. My father once told me that you could be right in principle, but wrong in attitude. To ask was not the issue. To ask with a tone and attitude of presumed guilt was ignorant and that did happen. It should have disgusted Izzo, it did me.


Tom Izzo is a grown man who has every right to have whatever emotion he feels or thinks. I don’t blame him for being angry when people asked in an accusative and condemning tone, but to be angry people asked was foolish to me.  I know that Joe Rexrode of the State Journal is a tremendous journalist and pro at what he does. Some of the attacks on him were beyond
foolish and ignorant. I stand by and support Joe 100% and he did nothing wrong at all. Joe did a fabulous job.

Fans are called fans because they are FANatics. We see it all over the landscape of college sports where no matter what an ICONIC coach/program does, to question it, some act as if they are treasonous.  
Do I think there were those that went too far
on the Nix car issue? Without a doubt and that should make people angry. There were, however, many that reported accurately and fairly and the outrage shouldn’t be sent their way.


There you go everyone. Another week of your MSU Basketball Q and A in the books. Make sure to send in your questions for next week. Simply email
them to and put weekly Q and ABasketball in the subject line.

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