Izzo: Nix working to be “a better player and a better person”

Caught up with Tom Izzo on Wednesday on a variety of topics, one of which is the status of his newest vegetarian Derrick Nix.

Yes, you read that right. In his continual quest to lose weight, Nix tweeted Tuesday that he has become a vegetarian. “As of yesterday day- Ive decided to change my life in a different way as of 9/20/12 I am a vegetarian and will remain this way until 9/20/13″ … which, obviously 9/20 is September. But still, a vegetarian diet requires a lot of focus and resolve. Or so I’ve heard.

Izzo said 6-foot-9 Nix left for break with his weight in the 260s – already an amazing body change from the near 300 pounds Nix carried when he arrived at MSU. As a fellow man who loves to eat, I wish good luck to Nix on his journey. He can feel free to give me any and all steaks he doesn’t want anymore.

This is just one of a number of things the senior center has tried to change in his life since being arrested in April and then pleading to an impaired driving charge. Izzo said Nix has been working with former Spartan Steve Smith and their former Detroit Pershing High coach A.W. Canada to atone for his transgression and improve himself.

“Put it this way: We set some things up for him at the beginning of the summer, and he’s exceeded all of them,” Izzo said of Nix. “Where does that put him? It puts him in a better frame going into the season. And still, he’ll be doing community service and things that aren’t mandated by anybody but me and him. We’re going to truly make him a better player and a better person, and that’s what we’re working on.”

And Izzo said he has “no reservations on anything” and thinks Nix is “moving in the right direction” now.

“He’s on thinner ice than other people, there’s no question about it,” Izzo said. “But if I look at the last year and a half, he had one stupid night screw-up.”

On a few other topics:

* Izzo said sophomore forward Branden Dawson returned to working on drills against other players and continues to make rapid progress in healing from the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and resultant surgery back in March.  And the coach said that after some early summer struggles in coping with his first time being sidelined by an injury, Dawson has rehabbed with an intense focus over the past 2 ½ months.

“If there’s ever an injury that might help a kid, this one might because I think he learned to appreciate how fast it can be taken away,” Izzo said. “It helped his focus, being on the sideline. He became a better leader. I really expect BJ to take a monster step, and then I catch myself and say, ‘How can he do that when he just missed six months?’ … But if there’s ever a guy who can do it, it’s him.”

* Izzo said Travis Trice was enjoying “a phenomenal summer” before the sophomore contracted what the coach said was classified as a bacterial infection. Trice is back working out again, but the illness cost the point guard seven weeks of work and about 15 pounds as he fought it off.

* Another player Izzo cited for a strong developmental summer, sophomore guard Brandan Kearney, continued to improve his shot and added about 15 pounds of muscle. Izzo said Kearney will be vital with his versatility and the coach’s goal to “run 200 percent more.”

* Sophomore shooting guard Russell Byrd, who has battled left foot problems even before arriving in East Lansing, is “about 95 percent healthy” right now, Izzo said. “It’s just now a matter of getting all that leg strength back that he couldn’t use.”

Also, Spartan81 wanted me to mention this with the changeover to the Spartan Shadows blog from Hey, Joe. The anonymous commenting system, while at times frustrating, does have some merit. ”I have a favor to ask of you, we do have MSU athletes who read your posts and are gracious enough to talk with us lowly fans … If you could just mention in your blog that MSU icons do read and participate that would be great.”

To all of you, athletes and fans, I say welcome. Hopefully, Brian and I can keep you guys entertained and informed.

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46 Responses to Izzo: Nix working to be “a better player and a better person”

  1. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:


    Thanks for the round ball update even though football is foremost in our minds. Glad to hear Nix is working on the straight and narrow. Don’t know about the vegetarian deal. Should lose weight that way but may sacrifice some strength. Hope he I doing this with professional guidance and not just some foodie fad.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Pretty sure MSU team doctors have a nutritioist out there that could even fool Chris with vegetarian Cheese Fries made out of Zuchini, also Lasagna eggplant for carbs, Izzo will find a nutritionist that knows what they are doing.

  2. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

    Solari, oh oh
    Can blog-ay, oh oh oh oh
    News from way up to the clouds
    Away from the maddening crowds
    He can type in the glow of a star that I know of
    Where fans enjoy peace of mind
    Let us leave the confusion and all disillusion behind
    Just like birds of a feather, a blogging together we’ll find

    Solari, oh oh
    He blogs-ay, oh oh oh oh
    No wonder my happy heart sings
    Your posting has given me wings
    Someone who knows Italian will have to finish this. Don’t have time to run it through Google Translator although I’m sure it can be done.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Well played, Ghost, Deano would be proud. Can’t believe it took someone THIS long to use Volare! Been hearing that for years, and never once can I complain.

      • avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:

        As the Tru Ghost of Bo,
        It is my duty to inform you of the importance of being color co-ordinated ;) ;)
        ♫nel verde dipinta di verde♫

        I understand and feel the pain of some m fans would like blue to be the color of the MSU Spartans with the #1 AD, Giant, Humongous, Sun blocking, temperature lowering, turning once was the big house into, a whistling past the graveyard, deep, dark hole in the ground, 4th largest in the world, too big to be called scoreboard, video board, internationally known and recognized basketball, and #1 nuclear Physics school, year in and year out, so good that MIT is now known as the MSU of the East surpassing m, which is now known as the Hardy Har Har of the Midwest. But alas, it will never be possible….. Yes fellow m enthusiasts, we can join hands and sing our new stanza of alma mater:
        ♪MSU, we love your video board shadows, causing twilight silence to fall…..♪

        and commiserate together in our sadness and think of the sad enormity of the situation. We can only salute the Mighty Spartans:

        Andare Verde !!!!
        Andare Bianco !!!!!!!

      • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

        I’m sure it was all the girls that sang it to you. Not.

      • avatar MSUDersh says:

        Solari, next time you’re in Chicago (and hopefully in possession of a company credit card), check out Volare Ristorante on Grand at St. Clair St. It’s terrific.


    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Thanks for cleaning those lyrics up from the other site. To quote Weird

      “Plagurism from a plagurist is no vice.”

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      Lived in an Italian neighborhood jr and sr high and had lot of Italian friends but never learned the language. Reading Pa area Italian Sub sandwiches with the capicola, salami, and provolone on Itlian hard roll are still my favorite. Sometimes on away game Saturdays I make my own when I can find capicola, the Sam’s Club sub rolls are close one-offs. Closest thing is the Jersey Giant, the rolls aren’t right. The Reading variant of the Philly cheesesteak which is more Italian in flavor is also quite good.

      • avatar vas says:

        As an original patron of Jersey Giant (back in the days when Mr. Slocum ran the place and it was upstairs ) I can say the bread was better (I think Roma bakery made it).

        The #5 (aka “Fast Eddie”) is still my favorite and my first stop in EL when i come into town to visit my mom is a stop at “Jersey”. If you visit the Waverly store say hi to Brett (former Let’s Talk About Girls band member), or Frandor Mark “Mr. Springsteen” Slocum, or everyones favorite Marine Matt at the Jolly Rd location.

        Go State!

        • avatar MSUDersh says:

          Jersey Giant was the best, I loved that place. There’s a chain now called Jersey Mike’s that seems similar, apparently the Jersey is my preferred type of sub sandwich.

  3. avatar Ghost of Domenico Modugno says:

    Thanks, for your kind words. People alive in 1958 will remember the original

  4. avatar Ghost of Domenico Modugno says:

    Not sure, but seems we have more walking wounded this summer. Sure hope Nixer doesn’t go the cheese-fry route, pictures of folks who subsist on those aren’t very svelte.

    • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

      I think you’re right about the mbb injuries. The difference from two years ago seems to be that these guys are down but not out; Dawson & Byrd seem positioned to fully recover in 6-8 weeks, and even Trice may have time to restore 10-15 lbs. of muscle mass by November.

  5. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Moderation, everything in moderation.

  6. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    We will be in mix for the NCAA title this year. It’s a shame Trice had his issues, he didn’t have 15 lbs to loose. I hope D Nix keeps moving in a positive direction and becomes the leader he’s capable of being. Great to hear Kerney is getting stronger – 6’5″ and strong will be very hard to deal with for opposing guards. Now keep working on that shot, and the pull-up jumper from the free throw line (Steve Smith knows a little bit about that shot, too…).

    This is going to be another great year to be wearing green!

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Oregon has some new Nike jersey’s:


    Folks at Nike need to put their crayons away, clean their paint brushes, and just quit. These are truly ugly

    • avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:


      Thank-you. Another ugly situation is taking place 65 miles to the East of your great alma mater.

      The m enthusiasts AD, not even coming close to Mark Hollis as the best Athletic Director in the USA, David Brandon, has once again, cast a pall on my once great, and now tumbling into the Abyss, um. First, he has scheduled, Appalachian State as a home game, we all remember what happened. This year Alabama, next year, looking forward App State, a true recipe for destruction and humiliation.
      In addition: promoting “gang related” activity, as described by, Oklahoma educators, by inviting Cooper Barton and “family” (wink, wink)
      to a m game and in addition, sending him a t-shirt with the “Big House” emblazened on the ouside, and an M printed on the inside, so when the teachers instruct the lad not to contribute to gang related activity by turning the shirt inside out, the m will be shown. Purely scurrilous gang related, and criminal activities & advertising by the aforementioned umathletic director. Please keep our once proud Hardy Har Harv of the the mid west in your thoughts.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        When the young ladies would show up at the bell with an inappropriate shirt (or pants, for that matter) they would be sent to the female VP who would counsel them and give them a XXXX or larger t-shirt to wear all day that said “My mom dresses me Funny”. The inappropriate clothing soon went bye-bye for that school year, only to reappear in incoming frosh, and repeat.

        It’s not so much that I have a problem with the idiot AD at AAJC sending the tickets rewarding “gang” activity as I do rewarding the kid and the parents for flaunting the rules. We have enough problems with the “Entitlement Generation” without someone of “authority” aiding and abetting.

      • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

        I have no problem with Brandon responding in principle; such a rule for 5-year-olds is idiotic & anti-American. We wouldn’t have a problem with Dantonio inviting a young Spartan fan up to E.L. in a similar situation.

        But if DB were really concerned with injustice, he’d sent all the district’s grammar-school kids two-sided T-shirts to wear. Emblazoned with the colors & trademarks of the Texas Longhorns.

  8. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Hey Joe maiden chat at 10am eastern on the Freep , I submitted my question

    When can we expect your article on the chemistry between Solari and Calloway, do not know if it was accepted, said the comment was in moderation.

  9. avatar MSUDersh says:

    Its great to hear about Nix and his dedication, though simply cutting meat from his diet does not guarantee further weight loss – for example, he can just eat cheese pizza and french fries all day. Hopefully he’s working with a team nutritionist to create a balanced diet that supplies him all.his needed calories and nutrients. MSU does have one of the best food science & human nutrition programs in the country, so the resources are there.

  10. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Apparently Solari and Calloway not granting interviews untill the wedding reception per Joe

    Thanks, Minny Spartan, right now they’re not doing interviews. Perhaps before the Eastern Michigan game.
    by Joe Rexrode8/23/2012 2:04:52 PM 9:04 AM
    ReplyPermalinkGreat to have you aboard Joe, when can we expect the article on the chemistry between Solari and Calloway
    by Minneapolis Spartan8/23/2012 2:03:48 PM 9:03 AM

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Does anyone know where Chris is going on his post nuptial vacation? We could get a group of troubadours together for a sing-a-long.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        No Paparazzi, remember what happened to Prince Harry

        • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

          That wasn’t the Pap, it was some folks in the suite who tweeted and sexed. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.

      • avatar writergirl04 says:

        As Solari’s fiancee I can say…even we don’t know where we are going on our post nuptial vacation yet. Troubadours sound like a great addition though…

  11. avatar GoSt8Go says:

    Nice update on the Nixer. Regardless of the veggies, hope he can bring the wood at full throttle this fall.

    Brandon Dawson sounds like he has seen the ways of the straw.

    Trice, agree with Breadtruck that Trice did not have 15 lbs to give back to the baker. The young man is a player and he’ll be ready to go this fall.

    Was introduced to a friend of a cousin last night. When an opening line is “I went to Mich…,” then all is fair. He didn’t talk about MSU but did talk about how Hoax was in SD and that they are back. My response: Oct. 10. Sept 1 was not mentioned. The fan of the gulo may be conceding Sept 1.

  12. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    Hmmm. Having been busted for pot, Nix has now converted to vegetarianism.

    Apparently cannabis is a gateway drug :p

  13. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    Back to news, then:

    * In 2008, MSNBC ranked MSU as the 15th-most successful mbb program of the last 50 years. Now comes ESPN with MSU [1963-2012] ranked 11th:

    * BREAKING NEWS: “2012 Michigan State team captains: Max Bullough, Andrew Maxwell and Chris Norman.” (From twitter.com/MSU_Football.)

    • avatar miltary brat says:

      That is a pretty interesting list; only thing I might alter is putting Terry Furlow in the spot that was given to Raymar Morgan. Although I can see the selection as a nod to team vs. individual accomplishments. As regards to maintaining Nix strength through a vegetarian diets, look no further than John Sally foods, also James Jones flourished and actually increased his production on a vegetarian diet.

    • avatar Spartydoobydoo says:

      Sounds like 3 true leaders!!

      Go Green……8 more days!!

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