Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meet Anthony Dixon

(first Anthony Dixon photo courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times)

One of the best practices in the world of business is bringing quality people together to produce a desired outcome. This process also has applicability in other areas of group achievement, such as team sports where sums can become greater than their parts.

This custom is certainly taking place with the San Jose State men's basketball team where new additions have been welcomed into the Spartan Family.

One such augmentation is 6-4 wing Anthony Dixon of Hyde Park High in Chicago.

Let's break his fan club -- that is, besides the Spartan coaching staff -- into two parts and then we'll hear from Dixon himself.

Larry Butler has coached the Illinois Warriors, a powerhouse club basketball team from the Chicago area, for seemingly forever and is well known for both the number of his players who have gone on to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and also those who have moved in college coaching. Currently, Butler's crew consists of 19 NBA-ers including Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Corey Maggette, Eddy Curry, Julian Wright and Andre Iguodala. 11 of his charges are now on college coaching staffs throughout the country.

So when he talks, people listen. Here's what he had to say of Anthony Dixon when we talked with him the other day: "Anthony is going to be an all-league guy eventually...he's very athletic, a bigtime athlete who explodes in transition...he's a great kid and is shooting very well right him the most underrated in the senior class around here."

Harv and Roy Schmidt are also fixtures on the Illinois basketball scene. They've been scouting for 25 years or so and began as the Midwest correspondents for Clark Francis' HoopScoop basketball recruiting publication. In 1998, the pair branched out and started own scouting service Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye and they also cover high school and junior college basketball recruiting throughout the Land of Lincoln for the Chicago Sun Times.

We recently talked with Roy Schmidt about Dixon and here's is what he offered: "Anthony has very good hands, attacks the basket and scores well on the block... he's 6-4 but play like he is 6-7 or 6-8...he's a strong rebounder and just plays really hard...this past spring and summer he played for both the 16 & Under and the 17 Illinois Warrior teams and more coaches were on to him by the time July was over -- that's a tribute to how hard he worked."

Finally, we conversed with Dixon himself.

Asked why he selected San Jose State, Dixon said, "I came in [on his visit] with a list of questions and didn't need to ask any of them -- all the information I wanted was provided. I loved the coaching staff."

In this era where some commitments aren't worth the oxygen used to offer them, deciding on SJSU was an easy choice for Dixon. "I took only one visit, the one to San Jose State," he offered. "I really enjoyed it and how they [the coaching staff] acted. It doesn't matter to me [about taking other visits] because when I feel like this is where I want to be you don't change my mind on it."

His mother accompanied him on the trip.

Dixon grew up in Chicago but moved to Atlanta when he was eight. His family returned to The Windy City a year ago.

We asked why he ended up playing basketball, instead of football or another sport -- he responded, "When I was young, I was surrounded by a lot things related to basketball I decided that's what I wanted to do and I dedicated myself to it." Dixon also added this amusing anecdote: "I was tall even when I was born, I was told my feet were hanging out of the incubator."

Dixon described his best basketball assets as his athleticism, his versatility in being able to guard outside and also play in the paint, having a nice jumper and great hops and also leadership. Dixon realizes he's coming in as a freshman but noted, " when my time comes I'll be able to lead."

He's looking to major in business management/administration -- getting that interest from his mother and her work. As for academics, he said, "My mom always told me I'm a student-athlete and student comes first." Dixon actually removed himself from the AAU basketball circuit at one point because he felt his grades were suffering from playing too often.

He recognizes that he's grown both as a player and a person since his initial high school year. "I was wild as a freshman, sort of big-headed. It was my first year in high school and there are parties and all this freedom but I've matured. Now I surround myself with people who are goal-oriented."

Dixon had a very intriguing and insightful answer when we inquired about his best basketball moment. He said, "This year because all the seniors [on the team] have the capability of going to college. I didn't want to be the only one but now everyone is getting recruited, even those graduating next year, so we will all be going to college."

Classy people and outcomes wished for -- they go hand in hand.

Welcome aboard Anthony Dixon.

No comments: