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MSU basketball makes its preseason plans

(Coach Tom Izzo knocks on the door of Athletic Director Mark Hollis' office)

Mark Hollis: Come in.

Tom Izzo: Hello Mark, how are you doing?

Hollis: I'm very well, thank you. Sit down. What did you want to talk about?

Izzo: Mark, I've been wanting to discuss setting up that preseason trip abroad for our basketball team. I think it can really help us grow together as a squad, I mean, we're gonna be young, you know, and it'll give us a chance to build that chemistry, that toughness that I think we'll need.

Hollis: I couldn't agree more, that's why I've already set up a trip for you.

Izzo: You have?

Hollis: Yes. And best of all, it won't cost anybody at MSU a dime. It will make us money, in fact.

Izzo: That's great! Where are we going? Canada?

Hollis: No, not Canada.

Izzo: Belgium? Italy?

Hollis: Noooo. Think uh, a little more to the East than that.

Izzo: Turkey?

Hollis: Nope. A little bit more Easterly-

Izzo: Uh, China? I don't know, I give up. Where?

Hollis: I'm sending you guys to Kandahar, Tom.

Izzo: Is that in the UP?

Hollis: No Tom, it's in Afghanistan. It's a lawless land, where the size of your gun, and the number of men willing to die for you, are proportional to the power you hold.

Izzo: Are you sure it's not in the UP?


Hollis: Yes. I talked it over with some folks when we were on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson. They'd give your players meals, a place to stay, everything would be taken care of.

Izzo: And you've run all this by the NCAA?

Hollis. Compliance says we're A-Ok.

Izzo: I don't know, Mark. Afghanistan? I'm still a little worried about the kids.

Hollis: Hey, they'd be having all sorts of deployments. Cross-cultural exchange, shooting practice-

Izzo: Did you just say deployments?

Hollis: No, I said enjoyments. Many, many, things to enjoy.

Izzo: And when you say shooting practice, you mean-

Hollis: Oh, putting things into small targets. The usual stuff.

Izzo: (pauses) Mark, I need you to level with me, and this might sound a little crazy. This isn't some scheme where you send my basketball team to Afghanistan, and have them act as armed guards, or police forces, to cover up for security deficiencies in the surrounding countryside, is it?

Hollis: ... (opens a manila folder)... I've been advised not to answer that line of questioning.

Izzo: Mark!

Hollis: C'mon Tom, you love the war drill, I'm giving you chance to run all sorts of war drills- as dictated by the needs of ISAF operational tempos.

Izzo: Absolutely not.

Hollis: AND- And, you get to play basketball.

Izzo: Yeah? Against who?

Hollis: Oh, there's a whole league set up. The man running the games is a tall guy with an eyepatch named Omar. I've been told that you can't miss him.

Izzo: Omar, huh? What uh- what's his last name?

Hollis: Mullholland.

Izzo: Huh. Are you sure it's Omar Mullholland? Are you sure you aren't sending me to a tournament run by Taliban warlord Mohammed Omar?

Hollis: I am pretty sure I would remember that.

Izzo: Are you sure you haven't been negotiating with the Taliban in express violation of all sorts of US and international laws?

Hollis: Yes, I am sure.


Paul Sancya -AP

Hollis: No, I am not sure.

Izzo: Mark I can't do this. We can't do this. You have to call it off.

Hollis: I thought you would say that. But before I do, consider this: Nike is promising us a portion of the gross for any sales of equipment, gear or merchandise while you are there. This would be massive exposure for our program. I don't just want MSU to be Michigan's team, I want them to be Afghanistan's team, the world's team. Think of this as a massive marketing opportunity for the university.

Izzo: I don't know...

Hollis: And you could visit the troops. You love to visit the troops!

Izzo: Well, sure, but-

Hollis: And could you really give up the chance to find the next great MSU international player? The next, dare I say, Idong Ibok?

Izzo: Maybe...

Hollis: I can see the headlines: 'MSU recruits internationally'.

Izzo: And it would toughen up the kids...

Hollis: Would make 'em tough as hell. And Tom?

Izzo: Yeah?

Hollis: In Kandahar, it's very tough to. Get. Access. To. Twitter.


Al Goldis-AP

Izzo: Sold! I'll go tell the team right away!

Hollis: Excellent. And if you happen to see Coach Dantonio, tell him- Nah, I'll let it be a surprise.

*Disclaimer: All conversations written here are fictional. Any resemblance to real conversations is purely coincidental (and would be, in this case, a little freaky). These characters, though based on real people, are also fictional. Plainly: this is a work of satirical fiction, intended only for humorous purposes. Thank you.