Dixon looks to lead Seahawks

Evan Edwards | Staff Writer

Coming into the season, the UNC Wilmington men’s basketball team and Coach Buzz Peterson knew that in big games, down the stretch when they desperately need a bucket, they would be able to get the ball down low to their two-headed monster, Keith Rendleman and Cedrick Williams.  

What they didn’t know, however, was who exactly would be the one feeding them the rock.

As of about a week ago, Craig Ponder was the starting point guard for the Seahawks. But when the starting lineups were announced during Sunday’s season opener against UNC Asheville, it wasn’t Ponders name the announcer yelled out.

Instead, junior college transfer Chris Dixon that got the nod.

Dixon, a Montgomery, Ala. native, attended the University of Alabama straight out of high school where he walked onto the Crimson Tide basketball team. After playing one season there, he transferred to Redlands Community College in Reno, Okla.

His individual success in junior college earned him multiple scholarship offers from Division One schools across the country. After evaluating each of his offers, Dixon decided to come to UNCW.

“On my visit, I came up and the team was really cool,” Dixon said. “I also really liked the way Coach Buzz has things going around here.”

Although Craig Ponder was expected to be the starting point guard for this year’s team, Dixon has flat out earned the job with his performance.

In a scrimmage vs. Coastal Carolina and last week’s exhibition game vs. NC Wesleyan, the team has looked much better with Dixon running the show. Not only did he find open trailers and get the ball in the post to the go-to big men, but he played suffocating defense and knocked down multiple shots from the outside.

When asked if there was a bit of a rivalry between him and Ponder, Dixon laughed and said, “That’s my friend. We are roommates and basically together 24/7. That’s my main man.” Dixon did acknowledge the benefits of battling each other in practice on a more than regular basis, saying, “We make each other better every single day.”

Even if Dixon has won the point guard battle for now, he is well aware he needs to keep getting better, not only in order to remain this team’s floor general, but to make this team a stronger contender.

“I’ve got to be more vocal,” Dixon said. “Being a point guard you are supposed to lead your team, and I just need to be more vocal on the court.”

Dixon may not have lit up the stat sheet in Sunday’s victory over the Bulldogs, (1 point, 2 assists, and 1 steal) but he did accomplish what he came to Trask Coliseum to do-win.

This position battle could be interesting to keep an eye on, even late in the season. While nothing is permanent, for now, Dixon is the guy.