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Freshman Derrick Nix has Tom Izzo’s Attention and the Admiration of his Team!

For Spartan freshman Derrick Nix, there are all of the usual adjustments a young man makes when he gets to college. Then you add to that being a starter at one of the nation’s premier basketball schools. That is not a recipe for an easy transition. For Nix, it is growing on him, and he is on his teammates.


Izzo and his star pupil talk often and the admiration is mutual.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Izzo and his star pupil talk often and the admiration is mutual. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

“I get texts from him that I may save for the rest of my life,” was Coach Izzo’s comment as he laughed earlier this week about his big man. “Derrick Nix is a great example of a kid doing everything you want him to do,” were more accolades from Izzo.


I first met Nix a few years ago as a top high school talent and I can honestly say he hasn’t changed. “Maybe a few pounds (really about 70) since then, but I am still that same guy. Except I ain’t got no personal life now. School and basketball, that’s it,” were Nix’s sentiments to me recently about his development over the time I have known him.


Nix’s struggles from the charity stripe are well documented, but I can tell you from watching him in practice it isn’t for a lack of effort. That is where Nix’s laid-back style benefits him. Most “laid-back” people are void of passion. Not Nix. He will work hard to perfect his talent, but it doesn’t cause him to fret. “Oh no, I will do all the work I need to get better, it will come. Getting all mad and upset won’t change it. Just keep working hard.”


Nix has already become one of the Spartans most popular players. He recently challenged Izzo when he said, “Why are you on Sherm (Garrick Sherman) more than me?” It is that laid-back style and that desire to get better that has endeared him. He is one of the few freshmen to come here and not get intimidated by Izzo.


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“Every time I watch him he gets better,” was how Izzo described his progress on Monday and I agree. Izzo has his concerns, however, when he admitted that he worries about Nix this time of year hitting a freshman wall.


I asked Nix if he shared that fear? “No. Not at all. It is tough, but I love basketball and there won’t be a wall stopping me.”


Nix had a diet in high school that has been well reported with a two liter of pop and a large pizza, the entire large pizza. This diet doesn’t cut it as MSU. “No it doesn’t, they make me eat better, but it doesn’t mean I am not hungry,” was his thoughts on the diet and I need to add he added the being hungry with his big smile.


He has a long way ahead of him in his MSU career, but Derrick Nix’s personality, talent, and dedication sure make that road ahead of him look special. Nix is great kid and is glad to be at MSU. I asked him what the hardest part of his time at MSU has been so far? “I have basketball and school. I have no social life. That is hard. All of these people around and I just don’t have time to get to know none of them.”


When Izzo recently called him a 300# ballerina, I asked Nix about it and he said, “Man, I have to go talk to coach. That’s not right. I am 280,” and again he accentuated the comment with his big grin.


Opponents may not be grinning, but the Spartan Nation is. This young man is special, and oh, by the way, he plays basketball also.