Tom Izzo: Spartans over NBA

Updated: April 30, 2014, 12:54 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he'll remain with the Spartans next season despite rumors that he is a candidate for NBA openings in Minnesota and Detroit.

"First of all, I'm going to be at Michigan State,'' Izzo said Wednesday on ESPNU's College Basketball podcast. "I still listen to things every day in our town about Nick Saban saying I'm not going to be the Alabama coach [when Saban was coach of the Miami Dolphins].

"Nobody knows where any of us are going to be. You have to look at your track record and, over all these years, is this what he's done?"

Izzo has been coach at Michigan State since 1995, reaching the Final Four six times, winning the national title in 2000 and playing for it again in 2009. The Spartans lost in the Elite Eight this season to eventual national champion UConn.

"If somebody made me an offer to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers that was so good that it would impress everybody, does that mean I would never say never?" Izzo said. "I'm not doing that anymore. I've seen too many people get stung that way.

"Put it this way: I've got a big-time recruit coming in an hour and if I was leaving I wouldn't be recruiting.''

What is Izzo's reaction to the yearly NBA rumors about him?

"I laugh, No. 1,'' Izzo said. "There's me, Billy [Donovan] and I guess Freddy Hoiberg, and Cal's [John Calipari] always in it. ... We're the college guys always mentioned.

"I would just say this -- 13 years ago at Atlanta, when people were looking at me for that job, people recruited against us and said I'd be gone. But 13 years later, the average in our league is three to four different coaching changes at every school [but Purdue]."

[+] EnlargeTom Izzo
Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/Getty ImagesTom Izzo has been Michigan State's coach since 1995.

Izzo said he looks the rumors as compliments.

"I heard my name mentioned with jobs over the years and even this year nobody has talked to me even once,'' Izzo said. "So if I'm good enough to coach in that league, and someone thinks I am, I should be good enough to coach college players.''

Izzo considered the Cleveland Cavaliers' job in 2010 and went through an extensive decision process before staying at Michigan State.

"The NBA is the NBA and it's the top of our profession,'' said Izzo, who added that it's unfair for pundits to question why a coach would consider a job for more money. "Everybody is going to take care of their family. The only thing that disappoints me about college is that we're getting like the NBA -- money, TV contracts and the way we're doing things with expansion of leagues and traveling all over the world. Unlike football, we have a game on the road at 9 p.m and get back at 3 a.m. and have academic issues. We're not a Saturday game-type thing.

"I've had some success and that means sometimes there are rumors and sometimes opportunities, and I guarantee this: If we didn't have success, there would be none.''

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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