DES MOINES, Iowa — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo was going off on Aaron Henry in a screaming match.
Izzo pointed at him and screamed.
So Cassius Winston stepped in between the Hall of Fame coach and the freshman forward.
“I just felt at that moment, I could get the message to him better than coach,” Winston said, after MSU's 76-65 victory over Bradley at Wells Fargo Arena. “I know what it’s like to be in his shoes. So much is going through his head.”
Winston asked Izzo: “What do you want me to tell him?”
Izzo told Winston the problem.
“It was about him jogging back on defense,” Winston said. “And just looking lackadaisical at some point. Which he was. I just felt I could come to him, as my brother.”
And that's the essence of a great leader.
Then, Winston was asked about Henry missing a dunk late in the game.
“Did you ask him about it yet?” Winston said, laughing. “I’m gonna ask him about it later.”
Henry, whose confidence was shaken after the early struggles, was the main target of Izzo's wrath. He made a couple key baskets lat finished with eight points.
Here's how Izzo explained it, after the game:
"You think there was one thing that would make me that angry, you don't know me very well," Izzo said. "There was a bunch of things, you know, and, hey, he's playing a lot of minutes, too. He's tired, too. When you are a freshman now at this time of year you don't make mental mistakes on things we're telling a guy which way he goes or not running back. There are some things Aaron didn't do a very good job of and yet, you know what? I did get after him and he did respond and he did make a couple of big buckets and he did make a couple of big free throws, but that's not good enough.
"This is one-and-done time. The my-bads are out the window. If it's my fault because that guy played better and it's my bad because I walked back and didn't sprint back, then it is your bad and you're going to hear about it. So that's what it was."
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