Tom Izzo is thrilled to have Michigan State’s next football-basketball athlete Keon Coleman
Tom Izzo has had football players play basketball on his team since his early years, when Nick Saban was Spartans football.
He had them in the following years, under John L. Smith and Mark Dantonio as well.
Now Izzo is expected to have the last player cross Shaw Lane and play at the Breslin Center in Mel Tucker’s second year in tenure at Michigan State.
Keon Coleman, a three-star Louisiana wide receiver, signed his letter of intent with the Spartans football program on Wednesday and clarified that he plans to play basketball as well as soccer.
More than 10 years after the State of Michigan had its last dual-sport football / basketball athlete, Izzo is thrilled to have one again.
“I love guys at two sports,” Izzo said Thursday. “I’ve loved two-sport guys since I was in a very small school myself. I’ve always enjoyed guys who played football, I think it’s even a tougher sport, when you have one of these guys I think it benefits you.
Izzo said Coleman first appeared on his radar last summer thanks to Tucker, who informed his counterpart about the rookie’s interest in basketball and football.
Izzo and Coleman quickly started talking, Coleman often contacting Izzo to play basketball. Those talks culminated on Tuesday when both players touched base ahead of the Spartans’ game against Iowa and Coleman told Izzo he plans to sign with the Spartans the next day.
“He told me he really felt like he was planning to come here the next day,” Izzo said. So I talked to Mel, it was pretty exciting.
The last player to make it to the Spartans football and basketball teams was Dion Sims, who played one game in 2010. Prior to that, Deon Curry, who was a member of the 2006-07 Spartans team shortly thereafter the arrival of Dantonio. Matt Trannon served a double serve shortly before John L. Smith’s.
No player has done so since then, largely due to the increased volume of individual work athletes are doing now, Izzo said. But Coleman will have the opportunity to end this drought if he wishes.
“Who knows what this will bring to Keon, but I know Mel has certainly given him the opportunity and I know I gave him the opportunity that he can try if that’s what he wants to do,” said Izzo.
“I hope Keon finishes this year, gets here and let Mel beat him up a bit, then send me to rehab.”