Oct. 25, 2000
By Alayne Ruzyla
Sports Information Assistant
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Three years ago, then-freshman Antwuan Dixon turned on ESPN’s SportsCenter to see himself as the focus of its celebrated highlight segment. He had just left the excitement of beating Clemson in the ACC tournament, something his team had yet to do beforehand. In fact, it was their first ACC win at that competition, sealed by his tip dunk in the closing seconds. He had the media’s full attention, and was pursued by many a reporter at the end of the game. Antwuan had arrived.
On a team loaded with talent that year, Ron Hale, Terrell Baker, and Damous Anderson, to name a few, this scene was a mere glimpse of what was to come from Steve Robinson’s first signee as head coach. As a junior, Dixon has been named one of the Seminoles’ three team captains for the 2000-2001 season. Head coach Steve Robinson and the coaches recognizing in him what other players should emulate.
Antwuan has learned, and plans to keep learning. He has worked hard, and plans to work harder. With the support of his mother, his teammates, his coaches, and the fans, Antwuan Dixon has his own plans to step the Seminole team up and into serious contention this year.
Having an encouraging family is something that anyone can benefit from. When you are a college student athlete, it can be crucial. For Antwuan Dixon, his mother has fit the bill since he was a child be recognizing the importance of athletics in her son’s life.
“She pretty much got me interested [in basketball],” Antwuan stated, “she just stood behind me the whole way, making sure that if there was any recreational basketball I wanted to play, she let me do it. I played football, basketball, and track. Any sport I played, she stayed behind me.”
Not only was his mother an advocate of her son’s participation in sports, she immersed herself in them almost as much as he did. Even though she lives five and a half hours away, she continues to be an influential and visible part of Antwuan’s athletic career.
“She never missed a high school game, and makes a majority of my college games. She goes to Clemson, Georgia Tech, and all of the home games. She wants to go with us to Alaska, but I’m not sure if she’ll be able to,” Antwuan explained.
The respect Dixon has for his mother, and the desire to make her proud will only assist him as he strives for greatness this season.
Coming into the new season, Antwuan has his own predictions about how the team might best improve last season. Having been involved in the team’s building process over the past few years, he knows what is important for himself and his teammates to excel.
“We need to think about winning only. We just need to come together. It’s been a building process at Florida State for the past few years, new coaches, new recruits?we have to come together, learn the system together, and get our continuity. We have to play well as a team,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s [a lack] of confidence, everyone is pretty confident. On any given night we don’t go in thinking we are going to lose. We go into the game knowing we are going to compete to win,” Dixon continued.
Living and Learning
Last year, Antwuan was able to benefit from having Ron Hale to observe at his position. He looked up to Hale, and saw how he rose above adversity to become an effective team leader. He gained an appreciation for having a good work ethic, and being a hard worker.
“I looked up to the captains – they showed me a lot of positive things to help me improve my game,” Antwuan said.
Now Dixon, who feels he is “good friends with everyone” on the team, including the coaching staff, is now ready to combine what he has learned from his older teammates and his family with his new role as captain.
“I just want to be there for the younger guys,” he commented, I think that in everything you do in life you have to have a leader.” So, as team leader, I think that the guys need someone they can look up to when they get down and out. Someone who can be strong, who can be a back bone, and someone they can come talk to with the problems they have.”
Is Dixon ready?
“I’m up to the task,” he said.
His coaches and teammates certainly believe so. The team itself definitely needs his scoring ability and defensive prowess to shine this season.