There are many Division-1 college basketball coaches use Twitter to praise their team and fans. They use it to market their programs, to give off the “cool” vibe to recruits and to check the 411 in the NCAA hoops world.
Of the prominent coaches that are active on Twitter are Indiana’s Tom Crean (@TomCrean); Kentucky’s John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari), Xavier’s Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack); and Nebraska’s Tim Miles (@CoachMiles). You won’t find Tom Crean’s good buddy and former boss Tom Izzo on Twitter. He despises it.
Izzo doesn’t like the potential negative impact it can have on his players. Since Twitter took off a few years ago, Izzo has maintained that his players should ignore Twitter. He knows that senior center Derrick Nix does what he calls a “hate check” after every game. Nix looks for people that are bad-mouthing him. Izzo alluded to sophomore guard Russell Byrd being negatively affected by comments he read earlier this season on Twitter. His main qualm is the anonymity that the internet brings and the fact that his players could take the criticism to heart.
“I’m gonna tell you something, guys, there ain’t none of us — are you ready, not even my man Nick (Saban) — there ain’t none of us that can handle getting crucified and not knowing who’s crucifying them.”
He believes that players already hear so much from outsiders that Twitter just contributes to that inevitability.
“It’s what I’m gonna write my book on when I’m dead and gone from here. But I really think it has some significant and serious impact. You know what? I’m being proactive the other way. I’m talking to my kids about it and explaining. That’s why I always say it’s us against the world, and you’ve gotta hone in here.”
It’s an interesting concept and I don’t disagree with Izzo that the worst part of Twitter and message boards and the like is the anonymity factor, the tough keyboard jockey. Still, I give Izzo credit to let his players choose whether they maintain a Twitter account. Nix, Byrd and sophomore forward Branden Dawson have accounts whereas junior guard Keith Appling does not.
But like most things, Twitter isn’t bad if you keep it in moderation and keep the riff-raff out.
Detroit Free Press