Tom Izzo has coached a litany of stars in his time at Michigan State. But the Spartans coach got a surprise visit from one of his favorite during a recent video chat with CBS Sports play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle. Steve Smith, who played for the Spartans from 1987-91, dropped in on the conversation during the new "CBS Sports Connected" program to say hello to his legendary coach and to tease the man he now regards as a friend.
Smith took friendly jabs at Izzo about what he's doing to stay busy around the house amid the COVID-19 pandemic and credited Izzo's wife Lupe for tolerating Izzo during the quarantine.
"She is the one who has to deal with you right now in that house," Smith said.
Izzo quipped back, that "what I don't like is now she's making me work."
Izzo was an assistant for the Spartans when he recruited Smith, who is still the Big Ten's fourth all-time leading scorer. Their full conversation will air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on the premiere of "CBS Sports Connected" on CBS Sports Network. (Download the CBS Sports app to watch on your mobile device.)
"I'm not sure I'd be here if it wasn't for him," Izzo said. "Because we got him, we opened our building, we won a Big Ten championship. Four years later, I was named the head coach. I owe a lot to Smitty, a real lot. I appreciate him, because I think he's been the model of what we want here."
The premiere episode of CBS Sports Connected also features an interview with Eagle and Kansas coach Bill Self that receives an injection of comedy with an appearance from legendary CBS Sports analyst Bill Raftery, who offers his approval of Self's new facial hair.