February 17, 2009

Nix plays like Mr. Basketball in PSL semifinal win

DETROIT - Derrick Nix doesn't have an official vote for the Hal Schram Michigan Mr. Basketball Award, but Nix served notice last Friday that he should be in the conversation if not the frontrunner.

With his 34 points and 21 rebounds in a 101-74 win over Detroit Renaissance in the Detroit Public School League semifinal, Nix announced that he is ready to make a final push in the polls to claim the annual award given to the state's top high school senior each year in the state of Michigan.

"He stepped his game up, he stepped it up," said Pershing coach A.W. Canada. "I thought everybody stepped their game up. But we always have a rule, that if a guy has got his game going, we have to milk it until it is dry. So we tried to milk him until he was dry. We just kept milking the cow."

Renaissance was one of a handful of teams that chose to let Nix beat then rather than double the post.

"People have been doing all kinds of schemes all year," said Canada. "We just prepare for whatever. He is definitely prepared. Today, he did what he is able to do."

When Nix set up in the post, he demanded the ball and his teammates fed the post. Pershing guards did an excellent job running their offense, which ran inside-out through Nix. The success of Nix in the post allowed Pershing to build a big lead and force a quality Renaissance team into perimeter jumpers. The Doughboys were able to take advantage of Phoenix misses which they turned into easy transition buckets.

Junior Spartan commitment Keith Appling has had several games this season where he has carried Pershing with his scoring. In the PSL semifinals, Appling showed his ability as a point guard. The future Spartan had one of his best games as a distributor. The Michigan State commitment logged a triple double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Nix can make another last minute impression on Mr. Basketball voters this Friday when he and his teammates face off for the third time this season against Detroit Southeastern. The Jungaleers were blown out by Pershing in the two team's first meeting. But the Mark White-coached Southeastern ballclub pulled off a shocker on their own floor and handed Pershing their first and only loss of the 2008-2009 season.

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