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Dixson leaving for pros

Sophomore forward won’t play for Flames in CIT

By Mike Pankow

March 16, 2018

Mike Pankow/Woosh!

Dikembe Dixson, putting up a shot against Green Bay on Feb. 16, leaves UIC at 13th on the school’s all-time scoring list.

Dikembe Dixson is going after his dreams.

The redshirt sophomore forward, who took to social media following UIC’s game against Northern Kentucky on Feb. 23 to announce his intentions of leaving the school, officially is done with the Flames.

The school announced before the Flames’ 84-61 victory over Saint Francis (Pa.) in the opening game of the College Insider Tournament that Dixson won’t play in the postseason and will forgo the final two seasons of his eligibility to pursue a professional career.

“Dikembe has done everything that has been asked of him, and more, since the day he arrived on campus," UIC coach Steve McClain said in a statement. “He was one of the first people to commit here and truly buy in to what we wanted to do at UIC. Dikembe is a huge part of the group that has been instrumental in changing our culture and elevating this program back to a level that it has not been at in a long time. We wish him great success in the pursuit of his professional career.”

Dixson scored 1,250 points in 72 games over parts of three seasons, ranking 13th in school history. He holds the school record for points in a Division I game with 40 against Youngstown State on Feb. 16, 2016.

Going into the CIT, he led the Flames at 14.2 points per game after coming back from a torn ACL during the 2016-17 season.

As a freshman, he set the Horizon League record for points by a first-year player (594) while becoming the first Flame to win Horizon League freshman of the year. He was only the second UIC player to win a newcomer of the year honor (Othyus Jeffers, 2006). Dixson averaged 19.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in 2015-16 as he was also second-team All-Horizon League.

As a sophomore, Dixson looked poised to break out, averaging 20.3 points before tearing his ACL on a shot against DePaul. He was a preseason first-team All-Horizon selection.

Dixson, originally from Freeport, Ill., was the No. 43 ranked small forward in the nation as a prep senior. He played high school ball in Kentucky and West Virginia before coming back to Illinois to play for the Flames, choosing UIC over DePaul, Wake Forest, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee and UNLV. He averaged 21.8 points and 10.5 rebounds as senior at Mingo Central in Delbarton, W.Va.

“Being able to put on a UIC jersey has been a dream come true for me," Dixson said in a statement. “I want to thank all of coaches, teammates and the staff members in academic services and athletic training, especially, who have worked hard over the last three years to help me grow as a player and a person.”

Dixson is moving on into a professional basketball career, likely starting out overseas, but he vowed to return and complete his degree.

“As I continue to chase my dreams and prepare for the next chapter of my basketball life, I am proud of everything that my teammates and I accomplished together on the court, and the work I have put in toward a degree in Human Development and Learning in the College of Education,” Dixson said. “And though I am leaving the university at this time, it is definitely my intention to finish the work necessary to graduate from UIC someday.”

In other recent news:
Dixson makes it official: Off to the pros (3/16/18)
Season extended: Flames invited to CIT (3/13/18)
HORIZON TOURNEY: Milwaukee 80, UIC 75: Bitter taste (3/7/18)
HORIZON AWARDS: Odiase, Boahen honored (3/2/18)
Wright State 88, UIC 81: Learning experience (2/28/18)
Northern Kentucky 79, UIC 72: Double whammy (2/24/18)
UIC 94, Detroit Mercy 87: Rising up (2/21/18)
UIC 83, Green Bay 75: True road warriors (2/18/18)
Cleveland State 86, UIC 78: Unexpected speed bump (2/12/18)
UIC 100, Youngstown State 75: Deep impact (2/9/18)