Nick Dixon is excited about his newest opportunity, but also took time out to remember and thank those at Morton College who helped him along the way.
Dixon called his decision to come to Morton College as a “life-changing moment” and that’s no exaggeration. In two years, he went from an unknown prospect to two-time NJCAA Division II All-American at Morton College to signing a letter of intent April 15th with NCAA Division I men’s basketball at the University of Texas Pan American, located 10 miles north of the U.S./Mexican border.
“Coming to Morton College was a life-changing decision,” Dixon said. “If not for Morton College, I never would have fulfilled my goal of being a Division I player. I was working for two years after high school and not playing basketball. Morton gave me a place to showcase my talent.”
While Dixon leaves Morton College as the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,622 points, his best memories will be those of teammates and coaches.
“I had wonderful teammates and coach (Conte) Stamas is the best coach I’ve ever had,” said Dixon, who averaged an NJCAA D-2 leading 27.2 points per game as a sophomore and 25.2 ppg as a freshman. “He really helped me showcase my skills. I’ve never forget Morton and I’ll always come back.”
Stamas, who has over 30 years of experience of coaching at the high school and college levels, was genuinely touched by Dixon’s appreciation.
“He was so thankful to me,” Stamas said. “Here’s someone was out of high school for two years and now has a Division I basketball scholarship. He told me, ‘Coach, you really changed my life.’ It makes all that you go through really worth it.”
Texas Pan American, which is changing its name to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in the Fall of 2015, finished 10-21 overall and 4-10 in the Western Athletic Conference last season. Dixon will make at least one trip back to the area as Chicago State is a WAC school.
“It’s an up-and-coming program,” said Dixon, the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference’s back-to-back MVP. “I felt their coaches had good trust and confidence in me.”
Stamas, a former Division I assistant at Stetson and Xavier, believes veteran Texas Pan American coach Dan Hipsher will help Dixon develop.
“I like their coaching staff,” Stamas said. “What they’re good at doing is helping Nick Dixon to learn how to play off the ball. He had the ball in his hands quite a bit for us. They’re in need of some outside perimeter scoring and that’s what attracted them to Nick.”
Dixon is expected to graduate from Morton College in May with an Associate in Arts degree. He will head down to Texas Pan American to take summer classes and work out with the basketball team. Dixon knows he needs to hit the weight room to make an impact at the Division I level. He plans on majoring in communications and would like to become a sports broadcaster.