INDIANAPOLIS — The postgame setup of this tournament allows for head coach and player to sit together in close proximity, side by side after 40 minutes in the trenches, listening as the words flow freely. These moments can reveal a lot. It’s typically best to follow the expressions. Marcus Bingham Jr., and Tom Izzo make it easy.
Bingham was a high-profile guest on the podium, fresh off one the most memorable games of his career. He was asked about his engagement and the new light that has been cast this month. He spoke of long talks and the challenges he faced from his coaches, one of which was in the locker room. He stated that he wanted to prove them wrong. Izzo, seated two seats behind him, raised his eyebrows and tilted his head. He smiled.
It was a sign of a message being received and a coach and player in sync.
“I’m proud of him,”Later, Izzo said that the big man helped Michigan State beat Wisconsin 69-63 to reach the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. “I’m happy for him.”
These moments between Izzo & Bingham should be cherished for what they are, considering the time they had together. Bingham’s Michigan State career soon could be winding down. He hasn’t ruled anything out, but with the senior big man participating in senior day celebrations, he is perhaps inching closer to whatever’s next.
Maybe that’s what’s behind this late-season surge. Maybe it’s the captivating spirit of March and the potential that surrounds it. No matter the reason, Bingham looks like he’s found a new source of motivation, a second wind, with the help of his head coach. Michigan State is fortunate that this is true.
Bingham has averaged 12.8 points per game and eight rebounds in his last four games.