MSU Coach Tom Izzo Talks Loss of Joshua Langford, Being #1 & MORE

Hondo S. Carpenter

Tom & Lupe Izzo Media Center

East Lansing, MI

The #1 Michigan State Spartan basketball team is marching towards a match against the #2 Kentucky Wildcats. Today the Spartans Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo didn't have much to talk about looking ahead to that matchup in the Champions Classic.

Hours after Tom Izzo and his Spartans became the first team in the illustrious history of Spartan Basketball to open the season ranked #1, he got some bad news. Star guard Joshua Langford will be out until at least January.

Above you can watch the entire press conference on video or you can read the partial transcript below:

Well, um, you talk about the highs and lows of college athletics and sports. Even though it doesn’t matter, yesterday I guess was a day when everybody looked at our program and I thought the same thing as some people where I couldn’t believe Magic’s team wasn’t ranked one, I did know we hadn’t been ranked one. I just figured somebody had been.

So at two o’clock, I got the word that we were the first Michigan State program, we were ranked I think second four times in the last nine years. But, to be ranked one. And at seven o’clock last night I had the hardest part of my job. I had to sit down with Josh Langford and the doctors and find out that he has resurfaced the problem in his foot and he will be re-evaluated in January. But he’s going to be out. The kid has been the most selfless, greatest attitude, committed kid. Didn’t miss a practice last year, didn’t miss a trip. Set back has been for the last season, and to be honest with you, it’s one of those weird things that breaks my heart. Thank God he has strong beliefs in his faith and while I know he’s very, very, very disappointed, he still believes everything happens for a reason.

I love Josh Langford. He’s one of those guys that has given me everything on the court, off the court and in the classroom. Almost like nobody I’ve had. He’s handled everything a lot better than I would have handled it, and now my job is to support him in every way I can, including the hours last night.

Don’t have a ton of information, just it’s still in his ankle, still a little spot that just, I don’t know if it’s the stress of the first one that makes it act a little differently. But uh, I don’t see this as anything that is going to change his life in any way later on. But right now it’s going to set him back and we’re going to reevaluate everything in January and see where he is, see where we are. But it is a big loss after a tremendous high at two o’clock, practice, and kind of a tremendous low at seven o’clock. So I didn’t want to start the press conference out that way, but I haven’t really hit injuries as much as I know. I try to tell you the truth and would hope and pray that every Michigan State supporter, and even the ones that aren’t, this is nothing life-threatening, it’s just something that a kid who’s dedicated his life. I stick by my three L rule; some people like it, some people love it and some people live it. And he was a live it guy. He lived every minute of the day was basketball-related along with keeping a very religious balance, a very academic balance, a very social balance.

So last night was one of the moments that you sit with somebody and you get some news, please forgive me that it’s not news like some people, maybe some of you, have had or some of us will have. But in that case, it was tough news and then to spend a couple of hours, it brings a reality to your job. Once in awhile, maybe that’s what he meant when it all happens for a reason coach, because once in a while this is an unrealistic business that I’m in. It humanized it and I hope everybody that is a Josh Langford fan says a little prayer for his quick recovery. And uh, I guess I’ll answer questions about that when I’m done. 

I’ll talk a little bit about our team, that we’ve had some injuries. We did play that secret scrimmage and I didn’t think played great. It was great competition, Gonzaga was good. We went into it with Rocket Watts really probably not playing, he played a little bit. He hurt his Achilles a little bit, just a strain. Back practicing last night. Unfortunately, Kyle Ahrens, Josh’s backup, sprained his ankle in that and he’ll be out at least a week. So it was a scrimmage and we played a lot of people and got out of it what we wanted to get out of it and I think they (Gonzaga) got out of it what they wanted to get out of it. So that was a good experience for us. And now it’s, you know, get ready. In two weeks from tonight, we play. Kind of an interesting opener, great opener to be honest with you. Great for us, great for college basketball. This weekend we have midnight madness on Friday, which I think they’ve put a lot of work into so I’m excited about that for our players and for our families and for our students and for our fans. Since a lot of people don’t get to see games. Not to be the Debbie Downer, but any questions that I can answer, I’ll answer best I can.

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