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Derrick Nix went to two Sweet 16s and Final Four in four years with the Spartans.
Nix was the No. 8 center of the 2009 class, so, of course, there were expectations for him to become a star from the Spartans fanbase.
In reality, Nix never became the phenomenal game changer that some thought he'd evolve into in college. His weight was a constant issue, but he shed pounds, gained strength and became a more effective weapon under the basket for the Spartans.
Nix's former 2009 classmate, Garrick Sherman, was a part of the same group of incoming Spartans. Sherman transferred to Notre Dame after struggling to find his way in the Big Ten. Nix, despite troubles with coach Tom Izzo, East Lansing police and himself, had a greater collegiate career than Sherman, the No. 10 center of 2009.
Nix was a part of the 2010 Final Four team that lost to Butler, which fell to Duke in the national championship. In 2011, Nix and the Spartans stumbled against UCLA in their opening round of March Madness play. The next season, Nix and Michigan State lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16.
A similar ending came true in 2013 for Nix, but it was a loss to Duke in the Sweet 16 that knocked the Spartans out of the Big Dance.
Now, let's look at a couple of other stars from the 2009 class of big men to see what they did compared to Nix.
Alex Oriakhi was the No. 3 center of that group. He won a national championship with UConn in 2011 before ending his career with Missouri. Of course, Oriakhi's time in college produced a national title, and that's what everyone shoots for. Nix didn't get there, but a pair of Sweet 16s and a Final Four aren't too bad—Oriakhi's title obviously trumps them, though.
Derrick Favors, the No. 1 prospect of 2009 centers, was a one-and-done player with Georgia Tech. Daniel Orton, the No. 4 prospect, spent one year with Kentucky. It's difficult to say what Favors could have accomplished in college, but Orton would have been part of a national championship team had he stuck around.
When gauging the success of classmates, Nix's career wasn't a total wash. In fact, it was quite successful.