Dixon named to All-Sun Belt team

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 3, 2006

The value of senior guard Bobby Dixon to Troy University's basketball team simply can't be measured in numbers - although he has them.

Dixon was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference by a panel of coaches and media members, the league announced Wednesday on the eve of the conference basketball tournament.

Dixon leads the Sun Belt in assists (6.44 per game), steals (3.00 per game), and three-pointers (3.19 per game). He ranks second in assist-turnover ratio (1.96 per game), third in scoring (18.1 points per game), 13th in free throw percentage (71.7 percent), 17th in rebounding (5.3 per game), 14th in three-point percentage (39.4 percent) and third in minutes played (34.48 per game).

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But not even his first-team All-Sun Belt recognition demonstrates his value to the Trojans.

Troy head coach Don Maestri said that was better exemplified later, Wednesday night, when a players-only meeting was held at Dixon's apartment the night before the team leaves for Murfreesboro, Tenn., and the conference tournament.

&uot;I don't know what he's going to say, I don't have to know,&uot; Maestri said. &uot;I think they're going over tape of Arkansas State. But Bobby Dixon's value to our program can't be put down on paper. It's been special for us to have him here.&uot;

Maestri said after Saturday night's regular-season finale against Denver that this team was the closest-knit team he's ever had in his 24 years at the school.

&uot;They do things together off the court. It's not just basketball with this group,&uot; he said.

Clearly, the senior point guard gets an assist for developing that chemistry.

Maestri said Dixon has been an asset to the basketball program since he arrived in Troy.

&uot;He has represented Troy University the way we'd like for any student-athlete to represent us,&uot; Maestri said. &uot;He's been a role model as a student. The NCAA has this huge promotion going when they talk about student-athletes making a difference. That's exactly who Bobby Dixon is.&uot;

He is a far better basketball player than he was a year ago, his coach said.

&uot;I mean, he didn't make first team All-Atlantic Sun,&uot; Maestri noted. &uot;Now he's first team in this league? That shows you the one-year improvement he made. He truly dedicated himself to being a better player and worked to make that happen.&uot;

Dixon was embarrassed by Maestri's words after Saturday's game.

&uot;That makes me keeping wanting to do better,&uot; he said. &uot;I want to do the right thing.&uot;

The Chicago native is the 10th Trojan selected first-team all-conference in 13 years of Division I membership. Obviously, he is the first for the Sun Belt since this is Troy's inaugural year in the league.

Dixon scored at least 10 points in every game this season. He had double-doubles (points and assists) against Western Kentucky (18 points, 16 assists) and Denver (17 points, 10 assists).

He scored 20 or more points nine times, including a season-high 32 in a road loss at South Alabama.

The Trojans (13-14 overall, 6-9 SBC) tied for fourth in the West Division but are seeded sixth in the tournament. They play Arkansas State (12-17, 7-7) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Troy's women's basketball team opens its first Sun Belt Conference Tournament today. This tourney is also being played in Murfreesboro.

The Lady Trojans (9-17 overall, 3-12 SBC) finished as the fifth seed in the Sun Belt's West Division. They will play Arkansas State (13-14, 7-7), the No. 4 team from the East Division at 5 p.m. today.