Madison, Wis. — Every time Tom Izzo faces Wisconsin these days, he doesn’t have to look far to recall one of his fondest memories.
The starting point guard for the Badgers happens to be D’Mitrik Trice, younger brother of former Spartan Travis Trice.
As Michigan State prepared to play Wisconsin on Tuesday night, it had Izzo thinking back to spring 2015 when Michigan State was busy making its most recent run to the Final Four.
It came in large part because of the play of Travis Trice, who put the Spartans on his shoulders in March as they shook off an overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament championship game and raced through the NCAA Tournament’s first two weekends.
At the same time, Trice’s dad, Travis Sr., and his brother, D’Mitrik, were busy making their own run to a state championship at Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne. Dad was the coach and the younger brother was the star. But instead of focus solely on their run, the family traveled back and forth, first to Chicago for the Big Ten tournament, then to Spokane, Wash., followed by Syracuse, N.Y. Father and son joined by mom, Julie, as well as another brother and two sisters — Isaiah, Olivia and Acelynee.
Long road trips meant nothing. They didn’t miss a game.
“I will never forget getting up for the game in Syracuse when we were going to play Louisville,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “It was an early afternoon game and I was up early in this film room which was across the way from the hotel, you had to go over a little bridge. And the Clampetts came walking in, man. It was the Trice family. They had driven all night after dad had won a state championship, and the little girls had pillows and they had their bears with them. They walked in and I said, ‘Hey the Clampetts have arrived.’
“It was so cool. And then to have the dad win a state championship on a Saturday night and the son go to a Final Four on Sunday, that was made for TV.”
So, why didn’t D’Mitrik Trice follow in Travis’ footsteps to Michigan State? Well, as many recruiting stories go, it was complicated. D’Mitrik Trice was a decent basketball recruit who also excelled at football, leading Wayne to the state title game as a senior. Michigan State had set its sights on Cassius Winston, and when Trice spent a year at IMG Academy to become part of the same 2016 class, MSU didn’t need a point guard.
“I’m happy for D’Mitrik that it’s turned out well,” Izzo said. “It would have been a good story, too, if he would have come here and we had gotten to another Final Four.
“I love Travis Trice, but I love the Trice family. Trav Sr. and Julie, they still call. Julie still comes up for games. It’s a hard game for me because that whole family means a lot to me.”