Joshua Langford says he's done at MSU; Tom Izzo, Gabe Brown boil over

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

West Lafayette, Ind. — It appears Joshua Langford played his final game at Michigan State.

The fifth-year senior said after the Spartans’ 86-80 overtime loss to UCLA in their First Four matchup in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday that his time at Michigan State was up.

Joshua Langford (1) says he has played his last game at Michigan State.

“For starters, this was my last college basketball game for Michigan State,” Langford said. “So, that’s tough.”

It was tough for the Spartans (15-13) all around, getting eliminated from the tournament one game in after scrambling just to get in the field. But it was especially difficult for Langford, who came back this season after missing the previous season-and-a-half as he battled back from a pair of foot surgeries.

He made it the entire year, save for one game when he was tested positive for COVID-19. And at the end of the regular season, Langford left the door open for a return to Michigan State. It appears now he’s made the decision to move on.

“I'd like to say for Josh Langford, unbelievable year,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I mean, the kid gave me every single thing he had. And I think it's too bad that he had to go out that way because I thought we were a good enough team to win it.”

Langford did what he could, scoring 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting in 36 minutes. He wasn’t perfect, and he was kicking himself after the game for some of his mistakes. But he also had no regrets as he tried to come to terms with what likely was the end of his Michigan State career.

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“It’s a lot of emotions right now,” Langford said. “I'm really upset that we lost. Definitely as a competitor that I've always been and how much potential I seen this team could have, it definitely hurts that we that we lost. But individually I have no have no reason to hang my head. I feel like I gave 110%. I wasn’t perfect, but I've tried to be the best that I could be for my teammates. Even tonight, I came up short with it. But at the end of the day, man, hindsight is always 20-20. You do the best you can do in the moment, and then you always look back and see what you should have done and what you could have done.

“But I’ve tried to live my life like that. I just tried to give 110%, and at the end of the day, there were some plays that I made for myself and for my team that I shouldn't have made. But I'm not hanging my head at all because you know, I've fought through.”

With the NCAA granting another year eligibility, Langford could play another season either at Michigan State or perhaps transfer to another school. Or, he could opt to try and play professionally.

Either way, Izzo wanted to give one more thank you.

“I want to make sure we reiterate, like the coaches did and the team did to Josh,” Izzo said. “He gave us so much. He bounced back and did so many things it was damn near incredible. The effort he put forth to come back and play after nobody gave him a chance to ever play. For that, I just want to make sure all of our alums say, ‘Thank you,’ to him.”

Coach, player get into it

As Michigan State headed to the locker room at halftime on Thursday, television cameras caught a heated exchange between Izzo and junior Gabe Brown. It came as Brown and Malik Hall failed to execute a defensive switch, allowing for UCLA to hit an open jumper as the first half came to a close.

As Brown was walking toward the tunnel, Izzo grabbed Brown’s arm and his jersey as Brown kept heading up the tunnel. It was a moment that reminded many of Izzo’s intense exchange with Aaron Henry two years ago in the NCAA Tournament.

Locker rooms are not open this year, so Brown was not available to comment. Izzo, however, said the exchange wasn’t as big of a deal as some were making it.

“You guys are beautiful,” Izzo said. “He missed a play and I told him. He walked away and I told him to come back. We went through this a couple of years ago. A game like that, that's the question you're going to ask me? I guess I'll answer it because the media has the right to ask whatever question.

“It was a normal nothing. It's just that this day and age everything is something. It was over a missed switch that we had talked about.”

Twitter: @mattcharboneau