|Derrick Nix, above, is cutting out the meat to better his game. (US Presswire)|
Two of the nation's elite programs rely on big men with weight problems.
That's the truth.
And though UCLA's Josh Smith has given no indication that he's seriously trying to get his issue under control -- coach Ben Howland publicly expressed disappointment with Smith's conditioning earlier this week -- there seems to be hope at Michigan State, where big-bodied center Derrick Nix has announced he's becoming a vegetarian.
"I've decided to change my life in a different way," Nix tweeted this week, according to MLive.com's Diamond Leung."As of 9/20/12, I am a vegetarian and will remain this way until 9/20/13. ... I just want to stay in shape."
Good for him.
Which is not to suggest that Nix will follow through with the plan. Millions of Americans promise every year that they're going to do something to address a weight issue, and the percentage that follow through is pretty low. So we'll see.
But at least Nix is trying.
The 6-foot-9 post reportedly weighed as much as 340 pounds in high school and played at 270 last season, and the Michigan State staff just told me Nix is at 268 pounds right now, which means he isn't changing his lifestyle to get back down to where he was after being really careless this offseason. Nix is just changing because he recognizes it's best for his health and career and, by extension, Michigan State. So let's wish him luck. Because he'll need it. Because beef and chicken and fish taste really, really good.