(CBS Detroit/CBS Local)– Former Michigan State star Steve Smith knows what it takes to get it done in March.
The former All-American won a Big 10 championship and went to the Sweet 16 in 1990. The 2nd all-time leading scorer in Michigan State history grew up wanting to play in the Big Dance.
“I remember dreaming about playing in March Madness,” Smith said in an interview with CBS Local at CBS & Turner Sports NCAA Media Day in New York. “March Madness is all about the stories around these schools, coaches and student-athletes from all over the world. In March Madness, most people are looking for upsets and that’s what they tune in for.”
Smith’s assistant coach during his college years was current Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans have only had two head coaches since the late 1970s.
“Izzo is going to outwork most people,” said Smith. “He still has that assistant coach mentality. His assistant coaches hate it because if he works that hard, they have to work even harder. The biggest thing for him is that he really takes in those kids as family. You still see the pure passion from him.”
The Spartans won the Big 10 Championship this year and are the #2 seed in the East Region. Junior Cassius Winston is one of the biggest reasons for the team’s success after all the injuries they endured.
“He is so cerebral and understands the game. He is a throwback point guard,” said Smith. “What I mean by that is he can beat you with the pass, his leadership and obviously his scoring, which he’s had to do more of. He’s an unbelievable student-athlete. He had the chance to go to an Ivy League school and instead went to Michigan State.”
Michigan State plays #15 Bradley Thursday, Mar. 21st on CBS.