ROSEMONT, ILL. – Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has a team favored to win the Big Ten Conference title this season, but he spent little time talking basketball at media day Thursday.
For the first time, Izzo vehemently defended himself and his program against the heavy criticism he faced last season after reports surfaced that Michigan State poorly handled sexual assault allegations against football and men's basketball players in previous years.
"I've kicked kids off for drugs, I've kicked kids off for bad academics," Izzo said. "I'm not going to kick somebody off for sexual assault? That's insulting. That's insulting to me."
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" aired a story in February painting a picture that linked the Larry Nassar sexual abuse of gymnasts scandal to the alleged mishandling of information on reported sexual assaults against players in Izzo's and Spartans football coach Mark Dantonio's programs.
"I was appalled, because that picture dragged everything in," Izzo said. "It brought it in like 'hidden secrets,' like everything's hidden. There are no hidden secrets."
Izzo said he spoke with sexual assault victims and also had several sexual violence against women groups talk with his players throughout the summer.
"I spent more time on that than I do basketball," he said. "If it is good, maybe I'm doing the right thing. I will guarantee you I'm trying to do the right thing. I've always tried to do the right thing."
Murphy honored again
For the second year in a row, the Gophers have a presence on the All-Big Ten preseason team with senior forward Jordan Murphy.
The 6-7, 250-pound San Antonio native led the Gophers in scoring (16.8 points) and the Big Ten in rebounding (11.3) in 2017-18. He earned All-Big Ten second-team honors.
Murphy, who attended Thursday's media day, was joined by Purdue's Carsen Edwards, Wisconsin's Ethan Happ, Nebraska's James Palmer Jr., Michigan State's Cassius Winston and Nick Ward, Maryland's Anthony Cowan, Indiana's Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford and Michigan's Charles Matthews.