Nov. 2, 2000
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State basketball player Antwuan Dixon sat down with Jim Henry of the Osceola last week as the Seminoles continue preparations for the upcoming season. Here is that conversation.
How did your summer go?
I stayed here over the entire summer. I took classes during both sessions, worked out, lifted weights and worked out in the gym. I took four classes total, two per session. I am studying sociology and communications. I think it’s good to stay around. I felt like I accomplished a lot.
What was your focus over the summer regarding basketball?
I just wanted to focus on the weak parts of my game, also my strong parts in order to strengthen those, too. I wanted to work on my ballhandling, my shooting, strength-wise in the weight room.
Talk about your season last year.
It was all right. One of my strengths last season was defense. Sometimes when we needed a big defensive stop, Coach (Steve Robinson) would call upon me. That’s mainly how I got on the floor last year was because of my defense. I wasn’t disappointed. I played like 19 minutes a game last year, which isn’t bad as a sophomore. I played behind our two best scorers (Ron Hale and Damous Anderson), two of the top scorers in the league. It wasn’t that easy to get out on the floor. You had to work very hard in practice to prove that you deserved to be out there. People always look at scoring, but there are other parts of the game that you have to look at, too. You have to play defense. Other teams who had great scorers who needed to be contained or stopped, I was called upon.
You are obviously going to take more of a leadership role this season after being named one of the team’s three captains.
We have a lot of new players and a lot of new coaches. Things at first were a little mixed up with everyone trying to learn. The older players pretty much have a grasp of it (Robinson’s style), but he also has to teach the new players and his new coaches his style of basketball. I can see where it could be frustrating to a coach, though he doesn’t show any signs of it. If that burden were on my shoulders, it would be to me. It would be kind of hard. It’s like you are teaching everyone something. You are always teaching, teaching, teaching. But I think things are coming together good for us simply for the fact that we have so many new people in the program. New blood. I think things are going well. Everyone gets along well.
Talk about this team’s style.
I think we will be more of an up-tempo team. I think we will be able to press more because of depth. Having so many wing players, I think we will be able to be more up-tempo. In the past, we had some injuries and things like that which did not allow us to get up and down the floor as much because of the simple fact you get tired from the fast pace. I think this year Coach will have a great opportunity to be able to make some substitutions.
Robinson has built this program on defense. Will it again be the cornerstone for this year’s team?
I think so. Like they say, defense wins championships. You have to be able to stop people on the other end. It doesn’t do you any good if you go down and score and they come back and score, too. If you can stop teams and contain teams, which will create a lot of offense. Defense does bring offense. You get a steal up top, lay-up, and things like that.
What part of your game would you like to elevate this season?
I am looking to be looked at as more of a scorer, coming off some screens, getting some shots, taking my man off the dribble. These are the things I worked on over the summer and in practice, just developing my shot to where it can be consistent.
You are considered an emotional leader of this team, a player that gives it personality.
I wouldn’t say those guys (last year) were so quiet. They were good leaders. When we weren’t around Coach, they were the coach. They would make sure we were working hard. Yes, I think that (having fun) is important. To have fun out there, that’s the best way to play. Don’t get so frustrated. You have to be hard on yourself, of course, but if you miss a shot or two, you have to go back and get a stop on defense. Don’t put your head down or run back, they will end up scoring on you. That’s they way I always look at it.
How important is it for this team to get off to a good start?
The two years I have been here, we’ve lost the opener against Florida. A lot of fans, all their confidence is gone off the start. I always felt that fans help you win. When you do something, say like if I dunk. The fans are in an uproar. The emotion just runs through you. You feel so fast. You get a steal, go down and score. Get another steal, another score. You stop them. They have to call a timeout. Everyone is pumped. If there are no fans there, it’s like you are at practice. At practice we don’t get that emotional. There’s nobody in there but my teammates and four walls. The more fans (in attendance), I think we’ve come out with more wins. Everyone gets excited. You can feel the energy.
How will you prepare your younger teammates for the ACC?
I think with these preseason games will help them a lot for the league. We go to Alaska and play Ohio State and either DePaul or Syracuse. Then, with Florida coming to our house early on, it’s going to give them kind of a taste of what it feels like. The competition in the ACC is tough, very up-tempo. We have to try to keep confidence in them. Even if they mess up. They have to mature and grow and understand.