The BYU Basketball program has gone to the NCAA Tournament seven out of the last eight seasons. BYU Basketball is a one of the most consistent programs out west, and in all of college basketball. Next year however looked like a season where there might be a dip in that success BYU fans have become accustomed to from the Cougars on the hardwood.
Why you ask? The ACL injury of Kyle Collinsworth, Matt Carlino transferring to Marquette, and Eric Mika going on a mission. That’s three of your top four players from a season ago either gone, or unlikely to play on opening night this November.
A front court of Nate Austin and Luke Worthington raises some concerns. The same concerns that probably kept head coach Dave Rose wide awake at night. The news from Monday might give Rose some sleep now.
BYU announced on Monday that Orem High School signee, Dalton Nixon would be playing this season for the Cougar Cagers. Nixon was expected to go on a mission right out of high school, and serve in the Boston area. That mission will now be delayed so he can get a year under his belt.
Nixon is a 6-7, 220 pound forward who is a natural fit in BYU’s up-tempo offensive attack. His best position at the college level is probably at the 3, but for this upcoming season, Nixon will slide into the 4-spot due to BYU’s lack of depth in the front court. Nixon’s game reminds me of his father, Kevin Nixon, who played for BYU in 1991-1993. The elder Nixon had one of the greatest moments in Cougar Basketball history with his half-court bomb to win the WAC Tournament in 1992 over UTEP.
Nixon will pay his own way this season as a walk-on due to BYU already having 13 scholarship players on the roster. It’s not everyday you have a walk-on on the roster that is expected to contribute. BYU has that now in 2014-15 with Nixon. He will be given every opportunity to make an instant impact on this team.
While at Orem High, Dalton was a star for the Tigers as he went on to be the school’s all-time leading scorer, and also brought the Tigers their first state championship in school history in 2012.
With the addition of Nixon, this BYU Basketball team has more talent in the front court. UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes will be eligible in December. Between Aytes and Nixon, BYU will be playing some small ball at the four spot, but these guys have talent. This was a much needed addition for this team to continue their streak of receiving post-season bids.
Practices for BYU start on Friday, September 26th.