Stories indexed with the term ‘teamwork’

Column: Spartans Learn to Care

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

From the outside, it looked like a typically dominant Michigan State basketball team. By the end of January, the Spartans were undefeated in the Big Ten, and ranked fifth in the nation. That record hid some problems the public couldn’t see, but Coach Tom Izzo could.

It wasn’t talent. The Spartans returned four starters, including Big Ten player of the year Kalin Lucas, from a team that had already reached the NCAA finals the previous year. The problem was simpler, but more serious: the players just didn’t care enough about each other.

The coaches did. In January, Izzo, his trainer, his video guy and Dave Pruder, his long-time equipment manager, all lost close relatives. And every time, they were there for each other. In the middle of the season, Izzo drove down with his trainer to South Bend for his father’s funeral. Pruder told me, “We knew we could rely on each other. But the players didn’t.” [Full Story]