Wednesday, December 8, 2021

During men's hoops trip to Duke, COVID precautions were locked tight

December 2, 2020
<p>Freshman guard Rocket Watts (2) stares down a defender during the basketball game against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 1, 2020. The Spartans fell to the Badgers, 63-64.</p>

Freshman guard Rocket Watts (2) stares down a defender during the basketball game against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 1, 2020. The Spartans fell to the Badgers, 63-64.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

With 12 of 27 games for the MSU men's basketball team scheduled to be away from home, outside the confines of the Breslin Center, and with head coach Tom Izzo having just healed fully from COVID-19, one might assume concern would be present within the team about the potential health risk of traveling.

However, after players spoke on their first travel experience to No. 6 Duke Tuesday night, worries seemed minimal.

Junior forward Aaron Henry said the staff takes good care of his teammates, coaches and staff. The talk about wearing masks, washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, is just as prominent as the talk about basketball itself.

“They care about us. It’s not just coach and players, it’s — I don’t want to say father and son, but it resembles a lot of that,” Henry said. “We each have respect for each other and we each want to see the other safe and sound and out playing basketball.”

Sophomore forward Julius Marble II agreed with Henry. He said all he really wants to do is play the game that he loves, and he will do anything to make that happen.

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When the team stepped off the airplane, fully masked up, in Durham, North Carolina, they were greeted with protocols that they followed in each minute of their stay.

For example, when they arrived at the hotel they were staying in overnight, Izzo said the doors were sealed shut, showing no signs of entry after it had been cleaned and deeming it safe.

Izzo also said that housekeeping didn’t make an appearance to switch out towels and, while their meals were prepared for them, they served themselves.

“I thought our people — our administration, our medical people and our trainer — did an unbelievable job, our managers too. We kept it pretty close ranks,” Izzo said, before adding a stern, “Mask up, America.”

Izzo is proud of the guys and how they’re handling this adversity, as he told them early on it and its depth would both be part of the deal for having a season.

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The next time the No. 8 Spartans (3-0) hit the road will be Wednesday, Dec. 9, to play No. 15 Virginia (2-1) in Charlottesville.

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