Michigan State Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo announced at his team's media day Tuesday that senior center Derrick Nix and sophomore guard Russell Byrd will be team captains in 2012-13. The selections are somewhat surprising, given the histories at MSU of both Nix and Byrd. The captains were determined by player vote.
Nix was suspended from the team in the spring of 2012 after a marijuana arrest, after which he pleaded to a count of impaired driving. Izzo was uncertain whether he would allow the senior to be on the ballot for a position as captain. Izzo had this to say about his decision:
"It's either gonna be a huge, huge success story or egg on my face," Izzo said of Nix. "I think it's gonna be a huge success story."
Nix will not be suspended to begin the season. Byrd, a redshirt sophomore, has spent much of his Michigan State career recuperating from surgery - his foot was operated on three times within a year between May of 2010 and 2011. Byrd played 5.5 minutes per game during the 2011-12 season.