Hardest working coach in the tourney? Maybe Izzo

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After he was escorted to courtside seats, a stream of people _ including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, DePaul coach Oliver Purnell, ex-DePaul coach Joey Meyer, Boston Celtics guard E’Twaun Moore and strangers _ came by say hello, wish him well and pose for pictures. If Izzo was still weary, he didn’t show it.

“You’re big-time, you don’t even have voicemail,” Meyer said.

“No, that makes me smart,” Izzo replied with a smile. “And, I still have a flip phone _ that’s how big time I am!”

Izzo made eye contact with the recruits, both of whom nodded their heads as if to say hello without saying a word, during pregame warm-ups in non-verbal exchanges that abided by the NCAA’s strict rules during evaluation periods.

Mission accomplished. The trip that took just under 6 hours was worth it.

“Them knowing that you were there is the biggest thing you want to do,” Izzo said on the flight back to Lansing. “You never know what will make a difference.”


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