FLINT (WJRT) - (02/10/16) - He's a household name in the state of Michigan...but MSU's Tom Izzo says his success can actually be traced back to some of the players who got there start...in Flint.
"Probably because of the Flintstones. They kind of got me started," said the MSU Head Basketball Coach.
To Coach Izzo, players like Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, Marquise Gray and plenty of others will always be family. That's why it's been so hard to watch the Flint water crisis unfold.
"It's just tragic what happened," said Izzo. "Two days ago, I said 'hey we got an off-day. Maybe we should run up to Flint. See if we can get some of our guys together."
They did...to the surprise of dozens of kids at the Boys and Girls Club, Wednesday. One day after a late-night game in Indiana, Izzo brought the entire Michigan State Basketball team to Flint to spend some time with children just looking for a little excitement.
Hidden beneath the visit was a lesson on what to do with all the water bottles entering the kids' homes. Schupan and other area recycling companies provided a lot of the materials to help.
"Some of the groups were creating posters that were geared towards promoting recycling. The other groups were creating these bags and packets that would go with the families to help them recycle," said CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint, Tauzzari Robinson.
For athletes like Denzel Valentine, days like this are all about putting a smile on someone else's face.
"It's good to come down here. Get to interact with the kids. Get to meet them a little bit and hear their side of the story," he said.
Adds Izzo, "I tell my players all the time and I tell myself all the time, the greatest feeling you get is when you help someone else."
Izzo says he hopes to return to Flint and help out more once the season wraps up.