Bearcats Breakdown rolls on, and on this fine Thursday we cover the player that I refer to as my best friend. Now, I don't know Dion Dixon. Never met him. I've talked to him on twitter. He seems nice. That's not the reason he's my best friend. Let's take a trip back to last season. The scene: a gym in Maui. The game: Cincinnati vs Vanderbilt. One Cincinnati guard was a rebounding machine. That guy ended up with a double double. The next day against Maryland, that man was there again, pulling home 4 huge offensive rebounds. That's all it took for Dion Dixon to become my favorite Bearcat. When I started the blog, Dixon was playing hard and getting minutes and earning the title of my best friend. The West Virginia game was a stomach punch and a half. If you blocked it out of your mind, Dixon came off the bench with the score close late. He hadn't played a lot in that game. He got the inbound, and dribbled it off his foot. D'Sean Butler banked a 3, ending the UC miracle run in the Big East tournament. That memory could have been it for Dixon. He could have gone done as a less infamous Charles Williams. Fortunately, Dion Dixon didn't let that happen.
Dion Dixon started 29 of the 35 Cincinnati games, averaging 26.8 minutes a game. Dixon was second on the team with 11.57 points a game. Dixon was 132-318, 41.5% from the field. He was 48-135 from deep, a nice 35.6%. That was up 14% from his sophomore season, and a career best. Dixon also connected on a career best 76% of his foul shots. He had a 113.4 offensive rating, and a team best Ken Pom 112.7 offensive rating, while using 22.3% of the UC possessions. The offensive rating was 21st in the Big East. Dixon had a 49% effective field goal percentage, and a 53.8% true shooting percentage. Dixon got to the line a 38.3% rate, which was good. It could have been higher if he didn't vanish from the line during the middle of the season. Dixon matured a lot on offense. The effort he put in over the summer really paid off.
Dixon pulled down 2.9 boards a game, up nearly a full board from last season. His 1.1 offensive boards were 5% of the UC total, while his 1.8 defensive boards were 8.3%. Even though his boards were higher, his rates were lower due to more minutes. Dion played point guard late in the season when Cash was on the bench, and that showed with 1.85 assists per game. Dixon had 65 assists to 44 turnovers, a 1.5 ratio, 35th in the Big East. Dion had 36 steals, 30th in the league, averaging 1 a game, 2.4 of the steal percent. Dixon blocked 1 shot. He had a plus minus of 235, 154 nationally, 18 in the Big East.
Dion Dixon started the season strong. He had a solid 6 board game in the opener, 10, 14, and 9 following that. Dixon led the Bearcats in the domination over Dayton. Dixon scored 20 on 7-12 shooting, with 3 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. Dixon was outscoring UD 20-19 at one point in the second half. The 20 was a career best. Dixon followed with 11 against Wright St, 17 on 6-10 shooting against Toldeo, 15 with 4 assists against Utah Valley, and back to back 12 point games. Dion Dixon had a career game against Miami. Dixon scored a career best 23 points on 7-16, with 7 rebounds. Dion hit 8-10 at the line. His double digit streak ended at 7 because he played only 18 minutes against St Francis, but he bounced back with 16 in the Big East opener against DePaul. Dion netted a career high 6 assists against Seton Hall to close 2010. He started 2011 with 16, on 6-15, and 9 boards in the Shootout. That was followed with a 3-14 game in the Nova loss. He did have 6 boards. Dion had 6 boards to go with 11 points in the USF win, which started another scoring streak. He scored 18, all on 3s, against Syracuse, and 10 in the ND loss.
The lowlight of Dixon's season cam against St John's. Dion played only 13 minutes and didn't score. He came back with a 14 point outing on a horrible shooting day, 2-9, but got 8 free throws. Dixon's slump continued with a 3-12 game in the WV loss. Dixon didn't score at Pitt, and only had 4 at DePaul. He had 12 in the St John's loss on 4-12, but only 2 in the Louisville win. Whatever was wrong with Dixon was righted when the Bearcats traveled to Providence. Dixon had 16 on 7-12 shooting in the OT win, followed by 17 on 5-8 shooting, 3 triples, in the Georgetown win. He scored 7 in the UConn loss, his last single digit performance before UC played UConn again. Dixon scored 12 against Marquette, and 14 on senior day against Georgetown. His shooting was poor those 2 games, 8-23, but he got to the line 8 times against Georgetown, making 6. Dion thrived in New York for the Big East tournament. He scored 21 on 5-9, 8-9 at the line, with 6 boards against USF. He scored 15 against Notre Dame on 5-11. In the Missouri win, Dixon scored 16 with 6 boards.
Dion Dixon took the next step in his UC career this season. He played back up point guard the tail end of the season, and steadied the offense once he got the hang of it. When Dixon needed to be the scorer the Bearcats needed, he did that. When they needed someone to get to the line, he did that. His worst time of the year was when he stopped taking the ball to the rim. Maybe it was injuries, or something, who knows. He got back to it late, and UC benefited. Dixon came a long way, but he's still got a little more to go. With this being his senior season, he's going to have to be one of the senior leaders. Guessing the starting lineup, he's going to be one of the two seniors starting. The other being Yancy Gates. That means that he's gonna have to be a coach on the court. That's something I think Dixon can do. He and Cash play well together. Just with the trio of Cash, Dixon and Gates, the Bearcats should compete for a Big East title. It'll be important to get Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson, Cheikh Mbodji, maybe one of the freshmen, involved. I think that like Wright, and like Kilpatrick, Dion Dixon is going to have a big season. His stats might not improve to 20 points a game, but if he can give the team 13-4-4, the Bearcats are going to be tough. I know one thing, Dion Dixon is going to play hard. That's the one constant to his game. That's why he's my favorite Bearcat. That's why he's my best friend.