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Dixon Finds Continued Success With Support of Family

This+season+Dixon+is+averaging+14.8+points+and+6.6+rebounds+per+game.
Brian Luppy/Villanovan Photography
This season Dixon is averaging 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Some parents are the reason their child falls in love with a sport. Others are the reason they quit. But for redshirt senior Eric Dixon, his family is the reason he keeps going. 

From Dixon’s days playing U10, AAU and high school, to playing on college basketball’s biggest stage, family has always been important to him. 

Whether the game was in Villanova, New Orleans or in the Bahamas, Dixon’s mother Jean, his father Eric and younger brother Charles have always shown up. 

“They’ve made it easier,” Dixon said. “Honestly I don’t know if I would be in the position I am, as far as scoring and leading the team, if they weren’t there with me. They make hard days easier and easier days great, and I say that all the time and I mean it when I say it. To have that belief, to be able to have my family, to be able to go home and see them, is super nice.”  

Throughout his time at Villanova, not only has Dixon grown, but so has his little brother. As Charles has grown, the bond he and Dixon have formed has been one that has helped the Wildcat forward take his mind off of basketball. 

“It’s been great, it’s been everything that I could have imagined,” Dixon said. “My brother has grown from age six to 11. Especially this year we’ve grown a lot closer. He’s in middle school now, and it’s been awesome.” 

At Villanova, Dixon is a fan favorite. At six foot eight, he is a mix of skill and versatility. He can post up, out-muscle his opponents, knock down free throws and also score from behind the arc.

Since making his debut in 2020, Dixon has had many big games as a Wildcat, but none left more of an impression on NBA scouts, opponents and commentators than his recent performance in a makeshift court in a Bahamas ballroom. 

On Thanksgiving Day, the Wildcats matched up with No. 9 (then ranked No. 14) North Carolina in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. The Tar Heels are led by graduate center Armando Bacot, who is on the watchlist for national Player of the Year. 

Prior to arriving in the Bahamas, Dixon’s productivity had been down, but the matchup with Bacot was his chance to enter the All-America conversation himself. 

With his family in the stands, Dixon would go on to score a career-high 34 points and grab 10 rebounds in the Wildcats overtime win over the Tar Heels. 

“My family came down, and we spent Thanksgiving together like we normally do,” Dixon said. “To have them with me there at that moment was really nice and I know they’re gonna love me whether I play good or play bad.”

Dixon has been underrated for most of his career, but his performances in Atlantis were a message that he should not be doubted. 

What Dixon did against Bacot shows why Jay Wright and now Kyle Neptune have trusted him in the biggest of games. 

“He’s just a guy that’s a relentless worker,” Neptune said. “He really wants it for himself and so anytime you have that and talent you have a pretty good combo.”

Neptune’s confidence in Dixon has allowed the team’s big man to excel in big moments. 

“I think it’s just the time that I’ve been here and the trust that my coaches and teammates have in me,” Dixon said. “It’s not always going to be scoring every day or every game, it just happened to be that way most days last year, but I think for me, the highest honor is having decision-making abilities at the buzzer.” 

Following his career-high against Carolina and the championship game victory against Memphis, Dixon was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. 

But while it was nice to add another accolade to his resume, Dixon was more eager to share how happy he was to make his family proud. 

“Every child likes when their parents are proud,” Dixon said. “It’s definitely a good feeling for them cause you know when I struggle, they struggle and when we struggle, they struggle. Obviously it feels good to give them something to be proud of and obviously they were happy with it but even them, they were like “it’s time to get ready for the next one.”

Following Villanova’s return from Atlantis, the Wildcats have suffered back to back losses, but Dixon has not slowed down his success. In the loss to St. Joe’s on Wednesday, Nov. 27, Dixon scored 14 points. In the Big 5 Classic loss to Drexel on Saturday, Dec. 2, he scored 21.  

While Dixon has become one of the key leaders of this Wildcat team, this has not always been the case. He worked for this recognition. In 2019 he was not a McDonald’s All-American, he was not an NBA prospect, but this season he has caught the attention of scouts and is among the biggest names in college basketball. 

And one things for certain — it didn’t just happen. It all started with his family’s support.

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