HoopsHype.com Interviews

Juan Dixon: "A lot of people are doubting me again"
by Steven Koek / May 29, 2002

How has the whole process of showcasing yourself for different teams been going for you so far?

Juan Dixon: It’s hard just getting used to traveling from city to city, but it’s working out for me. I’m working hard. Hopefully I can stick with it and it works out for me. (Phoenix) is my seventh city in the last two weeks.

What does it feel like being under the microscope with GM’s coaching staffs watching you every move?

JD: I don’t mind. I like the pressure of the situation and hopefully I can keep on doing well.

You are coming off of a very successful college career with Maryland where you set team and conference records, received numerous honors including a finalist for the Wooden award. What is it going to be like to be the freshman again?

JD: It’s nothing new, I’ve experienced it at each level, so I think I’m prepared for it. Certainly a lot of people are doubting me again, but I think I’ll be fine. I have a lot of confidence in my ability to contribute and I’m sure I can do it with any team I end up (with). I’m not sweating the situation, it’ll work out for me.

You were a 6-3 shooting guard in college. Is it your height that you think has people doubting you?

JD: Probably. If I had played some point guard in college it would make this whole process a lot easier as far as people doubting me. But I didn’t play any point, I was a 2 guard at 6-3, so we’ll see. I can make the transition (to point guard), I’ve just got to continue to work hard and hopefully whoever picks me up will be patient with me and let me get used to playing point guard. I can get it done.

Why did you not play any point at Maryland?

JD: At Maryland we played a passing offense, a flex, and our coach wanted me on the baseline because I was a pretty good scorer, so he thought I would be more effective down here instead of up there passing the ball.

How will the experience and success in the NCAA tournament help with the transition to the NBA?

JD: It showed people that I could play on a high level in a short amount of time. I think that I played well and showed a lot of people that I’m a winner, that I want to win, and that I’m very competitive.

What will be the biggest challenge you think you will face in adapting to the NBA lifestyle?

JD: Just the talent level. You have to bring it every night. Guys one through five can handle and shoot, so there’s a big difference. I have to be ready to come out and give a great effort every night out. I think I’m mature enough to handle it, I’m 23. I’ve been in college 4 ½ years, I experienced a lot, I got a chance to meet a lot of different people. I think I’m prepared and hopefully it will work out for me.

How did playing for a big-time school in a big-time conference help to prepare you for this next step?

JD: Competing against teams like Duke and North Carolina really helped. Playing against great coaches. Having a great coach on my side in Coach Williams who helped me develop as a person and as a basketball player. Hopefully what he taught me I can use it, and take it to the next level.

Steven Koek is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com