Sept. 9, 2000
By RANDY BEARD
Nigel Dixon has a one-size-fits-all approach to life and basketball.
Translation: the Florida State sophomore is always looking at the
“Even if I lost 40 pounds, I’m still going to be a big person,
period,” said Dixon. “You’re not never going to see me at some 310 pounds
or something like that. I’m going to stay big. That’s just me.”
Last season the FSU basketball roster rather optimistically listed
the 6-foot-10 Dixon’s weight as 350, but the other day “Big Jelly”
confessed that even after a summer of diet wars he weighs 380.
Earlier this summer his weight again became a big issue when FSU
head coach Steve Robinson publicly criticized Dixon for not following a
prescribed fitness plan. Dixon learned of his coach’s dissatisfaction when
he saw a Tallahassee Democrat article pinned to a locker room bulletin
“I was angry at first,” said Dixon. “I went to see Coach Rob, and
he told me the whole reason he said that was to get the fire in me. I see
what he was trying to do . . . and mission accomplished.”
After considering a couple of diet options, Dixon chose an
all-protein plan because it offered the best chance to drop weight quickly.
However, once daily practices begin next month, he knows he will have to
opt for a more balanced nutrition plan to maintain the energy needed to get
through strenuous drills.
While he hasn’t become the leaner, meaner, rebounding machine that
Robinson would prefer, Dixon insists his weight will not be a burden for
him or the Seminoles this season. “I’m out of the ordinary. I’m not like
any other person, any other basketball player,” he said. “I don’t believe
there is any issue about my being able to play at this size.”
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Robinson and Dixon still have to agree on
what “play” means.
“The bottom line is that when you get out there, you’ve got to be
effective with what you do. You just can’t be on the floor for 10 minutes,”
Dixon believes he does bring something to the table, and says that
once Robinson realizes how much his stamina has improved, the FSU coach
will begin to accept that a guy with a defensive tackle’s body can be a
force in a basketball uniform.
Robinson wouldn’t disagree now. He was convinced Dixon had the
skill to develop into a solid post player when he recruited him, and he
acknowledges that his hefty center became a bigger contributor in the
latter stages of last season. But the bottom line is that Dixon still only
logged 178 minutes in 28 appearances, scored just 50 points and grabbed
only 60 rebounds last season.
Dixon, who became a crowd favorite with his hustle during his brief
stints on the court, can only promise greater things ahead. “I think I will
be 20 times better than last year,” he said.
“Time will tell,” said Robinson when asked if Dixon is fit enough
to claim a starting role. “The pace of games dictates so much.”
Dixon would like to think he can help dictate the pace of games.
But he’s not selfish. His confidence extends to his teammates.
“We’re definitely going to surprise people this season . . . We’re
going for it all.” Dixon said. “I want the whole cake. I don’t want any
Robinson wouldn’t expect anything less from his big man.