MSU’s ‘Big’ Problem: Lack of post production will haunt the Spartans this season

Posted: December 6, 2009 by jglitz in College
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Josh Glitz

The more and more I think back on MSU’s loss on Wednesday to UNC the more and more I see it coming down to one thing, Izzo’s swings and misses on big men the last few years. Izzo has done a great job recruiting players in the backcourt, but the lack of depth and production out of the post is going to haunt this team all year. Lets take a quick look at the big men listed on the Spartan roster.

I’ll start first with the only two that I see being worth a hoot:

Delvon Roe – Has the potential to be great, however he is not a great post defender, and I’m not sure if he ever will be. He is a matchup problem on offense, but has not shown the ability to defend the post for a full game. He was pushed around while he was in the game by Ed Davis and Deon Thompson, and he also picked up his fifth foul with seven minutes left in the game. He will need to show great improvement if State is going to reach the Final Four as some predict.

Draymond Green – Great nose for the ball off the glass, but at 6′6” he is going to struggle against top-tier post players. He will give it his all but is limited on defense. Without a shot blocking presence coming off the weak side, if you want to call Goran one last year, I suspect a drop off in his defense productivity this year.

The rest:

Tom Herzog – Has shown nothing in his three years. A big disappointment so far.

Garrick Sherman – Started against UNC but looked way out of his league. A project player for sure.

Derrick Nix – Mr. Basketball who is just what this pundit thought he was, terrible. Garrick Sherman is starting ahead of him, not much else to say.

Jon Crandell and Anthony Ianni – Good for 10 fouls a game and to keep a seat warm on the bench and little else.

With top schools like Kansas (Cole Aldrich), Kentucky (Patrick Patterson), Texas (Dexter Pittman), and Purdue (JuJaun Johnson) all having a solid post, something is going to have to improve for State to make a serious run at a title this year.

  1. Andrew Secor says:

    Derrick Nix is “terrible?” Must feel great to call a 19 year old kid “terrible” on a website after he has won a state championship, Mr. Basketball, and a scholarship to an elite college. If that is so “terrible,” I’m curious as to how your basketball resume would stack up.

    Wow, didn’t know “terrible” players are getting minutes as freshmen on top 20 teams. Sherman is a “project?” WTF is Josh Glitz anway? Work for ESPN? College coach? High School coach? Big 10 network?

    Maybe, just maybe, the 2 KIDS are freshmen. They are both ahead of other bigs in the league and will continue to progress as the year goes on.

    The issue of Day-Day’s 6’6 height is minimized by his reach. He is, and will continue to be, MSU’s best post defender.

    MSU doesn’t stress weak-side shot blocking, as more than half of those shot blocking attempts are missed and it leads to weak back-side rebounding. Therefore, that comment is poorly researched and irrelevant.

    What a poor, uneducated, and weak take.

    • Jared Field says:

      At what age does it become silly to refer to someone as a “kid?”

      I heard someone criticizing the President of the United States and I quickly stopped him in his tracks using your sound logic: “Have you ever been the most powerful man in the world,” I said. “Until then, I’d just not say anything.”

      You must be everything that you say the blog author isn’t in order to have an opinion about Michigan State. I assume you’re the graduate assistant sitting on the end of MSU’s bench with his nose parked in a PDA.

      Here’s the bottom line: Nix isn’t good. He got his scholarship as a precursor to getting Keith Appling to MSU.

      Also, if Green is MSU’s best post defender, they are in more trouble than I thought.

      He espoused an opinion about MSU in a blog post. He’s not gaming your girlfriend. Why so sensitive?

      • Drew Peppel says:

        Because he is saying that Nix is terrible and Sherman is a project. Just like Andrew said, Nix isn’t terrible, HE’S A FRESHMAN! Lucas wasn’t the star he is now when he was a freshman, neither was Day-Day. Nix and Sherman will grow to be nice players. With the recruiting class they have coming in next year, they might get overshadowed, but all in all, they will turn into very nice players.

      • Andrew Secor says:

        Hey Jared,
        He is less than a year out of high school, that is a “kid” to me. I don’t sit on the Michigan State bench, but do sit on a bench 20 nights during the high school season. I am not Bob Knight, but feel pretty good about the things I have accomplished so far in the coaching profession. That is beside the point.

        I find it humorous that Nix’s career is already over one month in. He is “not good.” So, you never expect him to start? Will he ever get quality minutes? What types of stats do you expect him to get? Maybe this is a better discussion for 2 years from now. If you had the same take on Herzog, it would be foolish for me to disagree. However, it is foolish, IMO, to guess what Nix will do over the next few years.

        Next, Green is an above average post-defender. 6’6 doesn’t mean as much with his wing span and ability to position his body in the post. Let me know when someone he is guarding goes for over 20. Hasn’t happened yet. MSU has just as many problems with perimeter defense as it does post defense. Furthermore, it’s not like there are a ton of great bigs in the Big 10 that are powerful back to the basket type players.

        Last, just because I disagree means I am so sensitive. If he can have an opinion, I can disagree with it, which is what I did.

  2. Jared Field says:

    The term “project” implies that Sherman could be good at some point.

    I know you really want them to be good players, and so do I, but you probably really wanted Herzog to be a great player. Some things just don’t work out that way.

  3. Curious….since when did blog writers stop being able to express opinions? If you disagree, then disagree, but don’t assume that every writer has to have been a player to have an informed opinion. In fact, most aren’t former “big-time” players, similar to coaches. What a blog is good for is the exchange of opinion by the authors (who spend valuable time going out and gathering info), and those who read it and agree or disagree. Let’s keep it there.

    • L.A.Sparte says:

      You must have intended this supporting statement to be a “blanket” statement for bloggers in general – “opinion by the authors (who spend valuable time going out and gathering info)”

      Specifically, Josh did such a inept job of research that he referenced Ianni as follows –
      “Jon Crandell and Anthony Ianni – Good for 10 fouls a game and to keep a seat warm on the bench and little else.”

      Now, anyone that understands the NCAA rules of basketball, and had accomplished even a modicum of research, would have discovered that Ianni is a new transfer and must sit out one year before he is eligible.

      Nice job on the research, Josh! Makes your opinion all the more credible, doesn’t it?

  4. jglitz says:

    I would be more generous towards Nix if I had not had the same take throughout high school. He is a big body that is out of shape and has problems getting up and down the court. This is true now, just as it was at Pershing. State is fast becoming a running team and as a result he simply won’t be able to see the court often this year.

    Winning Mr. Basketball was, and still is, a mystery to alot of fans out there. In regards to the state title game, he was a non factor. He scored 4 points against a team whose center was listed at 6’6”.

    Also remember that when I say he is “terrible” I am saying that in light of the context he is currently playing in. I will not dispute that he is a D1 basketball player. However he is not a High Major D1 like MSU. His skill, talent, and production are much more suited to a lower tier of D1 ball.

    • Andrew Secor says:

      What take you had on him in high school is irrelevant. I think the coaching at Michigan State is slightly better than what he got in high school, so what he did in one game against a 6’6 center really doesn’t mean a whole lot.

      State has been a running team for 10 years. Pretty sure Izzo knew that when he recruited Nix. His conditioning has vastly improved and by dropping 30+ pounds before this season, he should be applauded for his work ethic.

      He is high-major D1, because that is where he is. Are you saying if Izzo didn’t offer, no other high-majors would have? That would be foolish to insinuate.

      I just don’t understand writing off the entire career of a kid in one month. Noone will remember you or your take in 3 years, so I guess there is no journalistic responsibility in typing it.

      It certainly doesn’t take a John Wooden to see that a team with 2 sophomores and 2 freshmen in the frontline has an awful lot of improving to do. That is clear to anyone. However, I think all 4 members of that frontline will continue to grow and improve. To the point where MSU needs them? Maybe not. But simply folding up the tents, on that group, in December, is foolish.

      • sabetodo says:

        “No one will remember you or your take in 3 years, so I guess there is no journalistic responsibility in typing it.”

        I don’t see how this is relevant. No one’s going to remember your objections, either. As far as journalistic responsibility, this is a blog with opinionated contributors. Don’t like it, don’t read it. I don’t see why you have to be personally offended by this, or why you feel the need to insult the author in return.

        As far as Nix is concerned…well, you can’t teach size, so he’s got that going for him.

        One thing we need to consider for his development is that Izzo does not do a good job at developing big men (see: Naymick, Drew; Herzog, Tom; Suton, Goran; Lorbek, Erazem, Davis, Paul; Ibok, Idong; Gray, Marquise; etc.). With that track record, and Nix not being very good to begin with, maybe it’s not too early to prognosticate.

  5. Andrew Secor says:

    But, now that I hear you are a student at the UM-Flint campus……it makes a lot more sense.

    • jglitz says:

      I have enjoyed watching the degradation of the comments in regards to this post. Andrew Secor I do not know who you are, but I am going to go ahead and assume you have some sort of personal connection to Nix.

      For some reason you have really fixated on the word “terrible”. If you would like I will soften my evaluation to “I would be surprised if he becomes a contributor in his 4 years at MSU.” He is a big body who has never shown the work ethic to get himself in the kind of shape required to play at the level required at MSU.

      In regards to your evaluation to my intelligence due to my attendance at U of M Flint, I love an ad hominem attack when I see one.

  6. Jared Field says:

    I agree that it is foolish to give up on MSU in December because their frontline is bad.

    The people who watched Nix in high school are merely not surprised that he looks way out of shape and really (really, really) slow.

    I’ve always said that the getting Nix to MSU was expedient. They wanted Appling and the decided to go after his teammate. And I’m not saying it was a throw away scholly. Nix could still be something. He’s enormous.

    But Appling is the real deal, so MSU will continue to have very good guards.

    P.S. I don’t know if I believe the news about Nix’s weight loss. There were reports about that before his senior season. By the time he got to the Breslin, he looked like Andre Smith again.

    • Andrew Secor says:

      Jared, now that comment seems to make much more sense. As to your “president” comment, who the writer is, his experience in the game, playing/coaching/covering, certainly makes a difference in how his point of view is seen.

      Appling was sold on MSU very early. I don’t believe Nix had hardly anything to do with that.

      I know that seeing him close-up, he looks much different than he did last March. But that is just the looks test, I didn’t have a scale with me.

  7. Andrew Secor says:

    sabetodo, did you just reference Suton and Paul Davis as “not developing big men?”

    Wow, you are lost.

    Suton was a mid-major recruit who essentially no high-major D1’s wanted. He was the 3rd best player on his high school team (Nelson and McKinney). He went from that, to a major contributor on a Final 4 team, to having a shot at an NBA roster, and now the shot at professionally playing overseas. Very few people thought he had that potential when MSU recruited him. His body and his game when he left looked nothing like his game coming in. End of that discussion.

    Paul Davis is in the NBA. End of that discussion.

    He had Erazem Lorbek for one year. End of that discussion.

    Gray is the one that you have the best point on, as his growth at MSU was very minimal.

    ID had the body but couldn’t deliver the skill set and Herzog has the skill set but not the body (or physce) . Points well taken there.

    Bigs are a big-time guess, even for high major teams. There are many projects, some who pan out and some who don’t.

    But including G, Lorbek, and Paul Davis on that list, loses the credibility of the list itself.

    • Jared Field says:

      I agree with you on Suton. I watched him in high school as well and I was among the voices saying: “What the heck is Tom Izzo thinking?”

      I watched Suton get destroyed on the glass by a 6-3 kid.

      Izzo knew what he was doing.

      As for Davis, I thought he’d be better at Michigan State and I’d be surprised if he were in the NBA much longer.

      A lot of MSU fans were upset that Izzo couldn’t hold on to Lorbek, but I don’t know how much of that was actually his fault.

      Gray’s name will certainly be left off Izzo’s resume.

  8. Gavin Raath says:

    My gosh, Nix! Derrick Nix! Is someone seriously defending this guy? The same kid that said in his Mr. Basketball interview that the person he looks up to the most is himself? He’s big and just leave it at that folks. He was out-of-shape, to be generous, in high school and he still is in college. His skill is minimal and always has been. Maybe he’ll improve under Izzo, but I’ve never felt like his program has been great at developing kids. Suton is the only guy I can remember that really turned out during his four years. Besides, Josh’s article is about this year! — not two years from now. Facts are facts and State’s post is in a world of hurt this year.

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