December 11, 2009

Nix shows quickness on defense

EAST LANSING - Michigan State freshman Derrick Nix got a standing ovation from the Izzone after burying the second of two free throws midway through the second half of the Spartans' 88-57 win over Oakland. The make at the free-throw line was the first for Nix since the season opener against Florida Gulf Coast.

But it was freshman's ability to move his feet on defense when Oakland star Keith Benson tried to take him off the dribble in the second half that drew the applause of his head coach.

"There are two things that he has, good feet and good hands," said Izzo of Nix. "And a couple of times he moved his feet maybe as well as anybody that guarded Benson. And that was good. We still have a lot of work to do inside with those guys. We are making a little bit of progress."

Nix was also pleased with the way he moved on defense against the athletic 6-foot-11 junior, whom several experts believe will be selected in the mid to late first round of the 2010 NBA draft.

"I couldn't have done that years back," said Nix. "I am kind of proud of myself and the way that I worked. Day Day (Draymond Green) told me to watch the iso, so I was ready for it as soon as he caught it. He told me to make sure that I didn't let him go baseline. He went baseline. I happened to beat him to the baseline, so he had to pick it up and I had my hands up."

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