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Tom Izzo Finds His Next Great Floor General in Travis Trice


Tom Izzo continues to to accumulate talent for his proud program.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Tom Izzo continues to to accumulate talent for his proud program. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Tom Izzo is known for a lot of things; tough defense, rebounding, finals four and his love for Michigan State. But if there is one thing that has been the most constant, it’s his knack for bringing in great point guards. Mateen Cleaves, Marcus Taylor, Drew Neitzel, Travis Walton, Kalin Lucas, and Korie Lucious have all done things to, as Izzo would say; put their footprints in the sand. When he recruits a point guard he looks for someone who can become an extension of him. All of these players have had leadership skills. More importantly, each was willing to take on the roll that helped his team win. Whether it was Cleaves being the vocal leader, Neitzel drilling the three, or Walton coming up with a big defensive stop, each of these point guards were the heart and soul of their team.


Next in line (aside from incoming freshman Keith Appling) as the MSU’s floor general is Travis Trice Jr. of Dayton, OH. This 6-0, 165 pound commit for the 2011 class is everything Izzo looks for in a point guard. Known for his strong leadership skills, Trice is someone who like Neitzel and Lucious can hit a jumper from just about anywhere. Trice recently talked to Spartan Nation about his shooting. “If I can see the rim, man, I think I can make it. A lot of people say they like my midrange pull up, they say it’s a lost art so that’s one of the things I went out and worked on.”


Trice is excited about playing in East Lansing and having the recruiting process over.


“Man it feels good. I’m real excited about being a Spartan… I just got to thank god, because he was the reason why all of this happened. He’s given me the strength and focus to get it done. “


Before committing to MSU, Trice and his father and coach, Travis Trice Sr., had the opportunity to tour East Lansing and the Spartan basketball facility. Of all the places they visited, the Spartans brought the most to the table.


“It just blows you away on how advanced... I’ve been to a couple of campuses since I’ve been recruited and Michigan State is definitely at the top.”


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Trice talked about how impressed they were with Izzo. When other coaches around the nation make their assistants do most of the recruiting, Izzo is the main recruiter for MSU. Prospects will find Izzo taking time out of his busy summer watching kids play in AAU tournaments across the US. This is something that set Izzo apart from the other coaches recruiting him.


“That meant everything to me. Sometimes people get caught up in the assistant coaches looking at me and it’s not the head coach. When Coach Izzo was there and Coach Izzo was making the calls and that makes all the difference because you really know he is serious… He’s not putting on a show, I mean, he is real with you. He’s honest with you and that’s what I like. He’s upfront and doesn’t pull any punches so that’s what I really like about him.”


Trice’s father had a lot to say about his son’s game. He admitted that compared to other players he is hardest on his son. Their relationship went through some growing pains in the younger Trice’s first two years of high school. The tough love proved well as Trice’s game has taken to a new level. His dad broke down his son’s game for Spartan Nation.


“He is a tenacious competitor, he does not like to lose, he competes every second on the floor, he understands what his limitations are… his work ethic is absolutely unbelievable… What he’s done even with his body in the last three or four months has been nothing short of remarkable. He takes care of the ball, he makes great decisions. I’m giving you a lot of thing but I really want people to understand why Coach Izzo, after getting a chance to watch him play seven straight games in Milwaukee and about 13 games in Orlando, the things that caught his eye were the intangible things.”


As both a dad, and a coach, the elder Trice loves that his son is playing for a man like Izzo.


“He’s gotten it done the right way… he’s got a passion for these kids… he loves to win!”


So what can we expect from Trice when he comes to East Lansing? Hopefully what he enjoys the most…“I enjoy winning championships!”


Welcome to the Spartan Nation Travis Trice! Could the next Spartan commit come before the weekend?