D’Mitrik Trice is one of the top point guards in the BIG 10. Some have said that he’s one of the best in the country. There’s no denying that Trice played a major role in the Badgers mid-season turn around last season that eventually led to a BIG 10 title. He’s been even better this year, leading a team that has consistently been ranked in the top 10 in the country. Towards the end of every tight game this season, the ball has been in Trice’s hands. When the Badgers need a clutch basket, D’Mitrik delivers.
Wisconsin is lucky to have him. But there wasn’t much competition to land him. Looking back, coming to Madison was an easy decision for Trice to make. Most of his offers came from mid-major schools. His most notable, besides Wisconsin, came from Missouri and Ohio State. The Buckeyes were the only other team in the conference that showed significant interest in Trice. Needless to say, he’s made everyone regret passing on him. However, some teams may have more regret than others, and Michigan State is one of them. Out of all the teams in the BIG 10, it’s most shocking that no offer ever came from Tom Izzo and his Spartans.
Trice Family Ties With Izzo
D’Mitrik’s brother, Travis, was a star for Michigan State. He finished with over 1,000 career points and was a key reason why the Spartans made four straight Sweet 16 appearances during his career. The Trice family is close to Tom Izzo. Izzo has known D’Mitrik since he was in middle school. He knew his work ethic, his drive, and his ability. So why didn’t he offer him?
Today, Coach Izzo is most likely asking himself the same question. Izzo is considered one of the best recruiters in college basketball, and has been for a long time. He consistently boasts some of the nation’s top recruiting classes and doesn’t make many mistakes in this area. Trice may be one of his biggest ones, and he knows it.
Izzo Admits Mistake
After the Badgers beat the Spartans at the Breslin Center for the first time in over 16 years on Christmas Day, led by Trice with 29 points, Izzo acknowledged his mistake. “So it shows you how bad a recruiter I am,” he said. “Not only did his brother play here, but his mother and father are really good friends of mine. I’m not sure he was a recruit at this level at the time, but to his credit, that’s what we all should learn. He is just a product of the process.”
The process Izzo was referring to was how Trice ultimately ended up at this point. First, his decision to attend IMG Academy after graduating from Huber Heights (Ohio) High School. Trice did so in an effort to up his recruiting stock before committing to a college. Once he got to Madison, he played limited minutes, learning from Badger great Bronson Koenig. The next few seasons included battling injuries, redshirting, and hot and cold play. There were flashes of greatness; he just wasn’t consistent.
Trice & Izzo Today
That changed during the Badgers’ run last season that culminated with a BIG 10 title. He’s been hot ever since, proving that the process does work. Izzo recognizes what Trice went through to get to where he is today, saying, “It’s been a battle, he’s redshirted there, he struggled a little bit early.” While Izzo wasn’t sold on Trice coming out of high school, he sure is now. “As far as running that team, making shots, making plays, he’s as good as there is in this league. Maybe as good as there is in the country,” he said. In addition, he’s happy for Trice and the success he’s experienced: “That kid gets exactly what he deserved, and dog-gone-it, you’ve got to love people that do that.”
Without Trice, it’s hard to see UW having the same success it has had while Trice has been running the show. However, a team without Trice could have easily been a reality. “God, I hate to be as honest as I can be on this, because I’m going to look bad, but that’s the truth,” Izzo explained. “I can’t remember who we had then, and if there was a need, but the truth of it is… It was our choice [not to extend an offer]. I think if we would have offered him a scholarship, I think he would have come.”
Badger fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Izzo missed this one. There aren’t many things Wisconsin has to be thankful to Coach Izzo for, but D’Mitrik Trice is one of them.
Thank you, Tom Izzo.