Michigan State’s Payne ‘Pissed’ at attention given to Wiggins, other frosh

Michigan State’s Adreian Payne isn’t too pleased about the attention the super freshman (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon) are getting.

Ben Baskin of ZagsBlog.com blogged about the senior forward’s comments:

“Yeah it pisses us off,” senior forward Adreian Payne told SNY.tv exclusively after he dropped a career-best 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting and added 10 rebounds in the win.  ”But we just use it for motivation. Aint nothing else we can do about it.”

He added that they’re all “great players” and are “living up to the hype.”

Baskin continues with some other Spartans announcing their displeasure, including Gary Harris:

While the 6-4 Harris agreed that the freshman trio are “well deserving” of the attention and are having “great years,”  he can’t help but take notice of the overwhelming hype surrounding them.

“You gotta pay attention,” Harris said.  ”All you do is see it on ESPN.”

And for whatever reason, Tom Izzo decided to talk about it as well, saying it disappoints him:

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo would not concede that the comparative lack of attention his team is receiving from the media bothers him, but he did say that the recent trend of freshman getting all the hype and publicity “disappoints” him.

“I’m not sure it’s great for college basketball,” Izzo said. “I have no problem with it, I think guys deserve what they get, but we’re making it so crazy now.”

Izzo intimated that his team may seem to be a little boring to the media in comparison to the freshman phenoms who dominate the coverage.  In a day and age where we are all looking for the next big thing, the Spartans don’t start any first-year players. Instead, they tout an experienced roster that has grown together over the years.

While Izzo noted that he has no “ill feelings for the freshman,” he clearly lamented the changing landscape of the NCAA and ominously warned against what could become of the NCAA if the trend continues.

“I think if we don’t watch it, it’s going to send a bad message,” Izzo said. “From the media, from the coaches, and from everybody. In my humble opinion.”

While I will agree with Izzo that the four freshman are taking away coverage of some of the more deserving college basketball players and teams, I wouldn’t say the media is really overlooking the Michigan State Spartans. We all watched the Spartans dismantle Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats during the Champions Classic. It was great to watch and it proved they’re the best team in the country.

What else does Izzo want? They’re ranked No. 1 in the country!

Going back to my point about the freshman taking away coverage of deserving teams… we’ve seen Wiggins dominate the coverage of KU basketball games even if some of the other Jayhawks had a better performance. Perry Ellis has been widely overlooked by ESPN and SportsCenter this year because of Wiggins and even Joel Embiid.

Wiggins has even drawn attention away from some fantastic freshman performances on Kansas. Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden and Frank Mason have all had great games so far at the University of Kansas and yet, Wiggins will get the majority of the coverage.

It even drew the ire of Iona senior guard Sean Armand last week when he noted that Wiggins was “overrated” for the amount of coverage he got despite not being the leading scorer for Kansas.

While it may be a problem for some, like Izzo, I’m actually kind of glad the national attention is being divided up between four super freshman. If the focus was solely on Wiggins, some of the outrage may be unfairly pointed at the 18-year-old, who really doesn’t deserve any hatred.

Trust me, I’m not one to blame the media for reporting about the freshmen. Kansas fans, college basketball fans, Canadians and NBA fans across the United States are all interested in what Wiggins is doing at all times. I blogged about Wiggins getting a haircut and it went viral. 

But you can’t really blame the media for giving the people what they want.