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Suzy Merchant: 2017/2018 Spartans will be “deeper, more athletic, and really talented”

Russ White
Lou Anna K. Simon, Suzy Merchant, Mark Hollis

MSU women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant joins Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis for their annual conversation on MSU Today.

Merchant talks about the impact the team’s August 2016 trip to Europe had on her players. And she talks about how rest and recovery are important parts of her players’ offseason. She says it’s important for young athletes to play a variety of sports while growing up and not specialize in one too early.

“It’s tough for a lot of parents who don’t understand that if you’re an athlete and you’re good, you’re going to be seen. Some of my favorite players who I’ve ever coached have been multi-sport athletes.”

She tries to teach her own sons just to be good teammates.

“I don’t care if you win or lose when you’re ten years old. I want you to play the game hard, and I want you to give to your teammates. If you do those things, they carry on in life no matter what situation you’re in.”

She talks about some of the rules changes coming to the game this season and says she likes playing four quarters rather than two halves.

“This upcoming season we’re going to be really talented,” says Merchant. “I know people are worried about us losing back-to-back draft picks, especially Tori, but we had a kid sitting out who was a transfer from South Carolina who’s probably the best defender I’ve ever coached and unbelievably athletic. She’s going to be a difference maker, and we have everybody back.

“And then we signed a really talented kid who was a McDonalds All American. I think we’re going to be really good. We’ll be deeper and more athletic and able to do more things. The key will be that the coach doesn’t screw them up,” she quips.

Merchant tells Simon and Hollis about the EmpowHER program.

MSU Today airs Sunday afternoons at 4:00 on 94.5 FM and AM 870.

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