Mingo Central’s Dixson signs with Illinois-Chicago

Mingo Central basketball star Dikembe Dixson will be playing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) next season. The Flames play in the D-1 Horizon League. He is pictured above during a signing ceremony at MCHS on Wednesday morning with his parents. In the back row is former Miners head coach Brad Napier, right, and former assistant coach Stewart Watts on the left.

NEWTOWN — Mingo Central All-State basketball player Dikembe Dixson will be playing back in the state of Illinois next year.

Dixson chose the University of Illinois at Chicago over several other schools. In the past few weeks he has been making his official visits. His choice came later than many other players, but he wanted to make sure he was comfortable with his decision.

Dixson made the announcement in a ceremony at the MCHS auditorium on Wednesday morning.

“I wanted to go back home,” Dixson said.

He and his family had moved from the Chicago area to Bardstown, Ky., early in his high school career. Then they moved to the Matewan area during his junior year. He then played for the Miners of Coach Brad Napier most of his 11th grade year and this past season as a senior.

Dixson, a Class AA first team All-State selection, was also a McDonald’s All-American nominee this past season.

Dixson, a 6-foot-7 guard-forward, averaged 21 points per game, nine rebounds and four steals for the Miners this past season. He helped lead the school to its first-ever state tournament appearance back in March.

UIC is a Division I school that plays in the Horizon League.

Dixson said he feels he will get playing time right away for the UIC Flames.

“A lot of schools recruited me, but I wanted to go to a school that needed me,” Dixson said. “I wanted to be somewhere that I could play right away.”

Coach McClain (Steve) told Dixson that he should be able to step right in and get playing time as a freshman. He could be playing either of the guard positions, or possibly small forward.

Coach Napier said he thinks Dixson will do well at the next level.

“I think he will be great. I have said all along that Dikembe’s best basketball is ahead of him,” Napier said after the signing ceremony. “The people at UIC are not only getting a great player, but a good student-athlete.”

Dixson and his family plan to move back to Chicago in the near future.

(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

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