EAST LANSING, Michigan — The call came in after midnight. didn’t hear it. But when he saw a few minutes later that it was Milt Barnes, he figured the former Eastern Michigan University basketball coach wanted tickets to that day’s game against Binghamton.  

“I’ll call him back in the morning,” Izzo thought. 

Five minutes later, his phone rang again. It was David Thomas, Michigan State’s director of basketball operations.  

“Milt Barnes is trying to get a hold of you,” Thomas told Izzo. “He says it’s important.” 

Izzo took a deep breath. 

He called Barnes back.  

Barnes had grown up in Saginaw and played college basketball at Albion. He coached at Albion High School after a long career at the college level. His son, MJ, plays for

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