I remember the first time I heard that the Missouri Tigers’ Michael Dixon Jr. was suspended indefinitely for a second sexual assault accusation. I believed that the school should have immediately tried to force him to transfer, and that he shouldn’t have been given any leeway. It didn’t matter to me that both accusations later turned out to be dismissed; he shouldn’t be placing the Missouri basketball program in the position to have to deal with situations like that.
Naturally, my opinion wasn’t well received with Missouri fans. I had Tigers’ fans cussing me out; I even had friends and classmates of Dixon’s telling me they were going to find me and beat me up on Twitter. At the time, I just deleted the tweets and moved on.
However, one Missouri fan made a point that stuck with me. He said that the Tigers’ program didn’t matter; what mattered was that Dixon got away from Missouri and the negative media surrounding him there. Now that I look back on it all, he was right. It isn’t about the program; it’s about the players and their futures. Dixon deserved a second chance, and I hope to see him succeed with the Memphis Tigers.
Josh Pastner not only gained a top-notch basketball player by bringing in Dixon, but also is giving him a chance to prove his worth once again on a basketball court rather than face the judgment of the media in Missouri.
Dixon won’t disappoint; he will finish out the rest of his collegiate career in Memphis in a big way. He’s the type of player that can take control of an offense and average 20+ points scoring; his offense absence is what hurt Missouri the most last season. He will immediately make a positive impact on the Memphis team.
Memphis, Dixon and Pastner are a perfect match. Dixon is getting a second chance to prove himself, and Pastner may be getting his last chance with the Tigers. He’s coached well for them, but Memphis has a winning history and won’t be happy with early NCAA tournament exits too much longer.
His job may not seem to be on thin ice, but I firmly believe that at the end of the season Memphis will have a new coach who used to be on Rocky Top with the Tennessee Volunteers and who will be done with his NCAA punishment – Bruce Pearl.
Pastner needs Dixon to be successful almost as much as Dixon himself does. Both have extremely high expectations and a lot riding on their performances this season. Good luck to both of them, because the new is going to be much tougher than Conference USA.