AKRON, Ohio -- So Tom Izzo and I were sitting in the lobby of what might be the nicest middle school in the world last night waiting for a game to tip. We were all alone. Nobody else was anywhere around ... until this kid walked straight up to us, put his hand out and said, "Hey Tom."
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He just said "Hey Tom" same way I might say "Hey Tom."
But they didn't know each other at all.
The kid was just super-cool.
So Izzo shook his hand and asked where he was from. "Michigan," the kid said before explaining how he was about to be playing in a game on some auxiliary court, at which point Izzo asked the question every Division I coach is required to ask.
"What grade are you in?"
"I just finished 7th-grade," the kid said.
"Well, you've gotten too old," Izzo replied. "I'm not even allowed to talk to you."
Let the record show that neither Izzo nor I know whether this kid can play a lick. No idea. But it doesn't matter because the NCAA considers all 7th-graders "prospects" for the purposes of men's basketball. So Izzo, by rule, can't talk to him, which is why the Michigan State coach had to terminate the conversation immediately even though the "prospect" was almost certainly just a kid from Michigan who's grown up watching Izzo's Spartans and wanted to meet the coach when he saw an opportunity to do so.
"That kid was great, but I'm not allowed to talk to him," Izzo said. "Now he probably thinks I'm an a--hole."
For more of our college basketball recruiting road trip, click here.