Juan Dixon Rumors

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Juan Dixon
Juan Dixon
Position: None
Born: 10/09/78
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:164 lbs. / 74.4 kg.
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Juan Dixon, who led Maryland to the 2002 national championship, is joining Mark Turgeon’s staff. In moves announced Wednesday morning, Dixon has been named a special assistant to Turgeon after Dalonte Hill resigned following his second drunk driving charge in a little less than two years. Director of basketball operations Dustin Clark has been promoted to fill Hill’s position. While Hill was primarily a recruiter, Clark will be asked to help coach the team and recruit. It is not clear what Dixon’s role will be helping Turgeon.
“I’ve been through the storm and I’m still trekking through the storm today,” Dixon said. “But I’m working hard every day.” Every weekday, Dixon slaps his alarm clock at 5:45 a.m., makes the 45-minute drive from his Baltimore home and arrives at Comcast Center at 7. He then goes to physical therapy with Megan Rogers, the women’s basketball athletic trainer, rehabbing the bum knee that sidelined him last year. From there, he runs through a litany of drills with David Adkins, the women’s basketball assistant coach, before finishing off the morning with weight training. Dixon usually leaves Comcast at about noon, ready to focus on a host of other endeavors — business opportunities, charity work, fatherhood. But during that five-hour stretch each day when Dixon is at Comcast, he said his mind is solely focused on the NBA. He forgets the regret. He forgets the what-ifs.
Juan Dixon couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic as he sat in a red Comcast Center seat late last month. The Terrapins men’s basketball icon had just spent the past 20 minutes discussing life after College Park. He had touched upon a failed drug test, the ups and downs of playing abroad and the NBA comeback attempt that ultimately landed him alongside the newest generation of Terps. Then he paused. A slight smile began to form on the 34-year-old shooting guard’s face as he glanced at the rafters above him. “That’s possible,” Dixon said as he pointed at the 2002 national championship banner. “The reality is, not everybody can make it to the NBA. But that banner, that’s possible. Everybody on the team just has to know their role.”
The festivities for “Maryland Madness,” the Maryland basketball version of midnight madness to kick off the college basketball season on Friday night, is coming together. Already, the alumni game was featuring four of the five starters from the Terps’ 2002 NCAA championship team. Now, a couple other prominent former Terps will be involved. According to a team press release, Steve Francis, Eric Hayes and Jerrod Mustaf are also expected to be playing in the game, which is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. on Friday. Those two will join Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Byron Mouton and Chris Wilcox.
After testing positive for the steroid nandrolone, which was found in an over-the-count supplement called Jack3d, the guard has been working hard and counting down the days until he could return to the game he loves. “I’m excited,” (Juan) Dixon told HOOPSWORLD in a phone interview. “It’s been a long year and throughout everything, I’ve just tried to work as hard as I could so that I would stay in the best shape possible. That’s pretty much all I’ve been doing. The suspension is over on Saturday so I’m able to play anytime after that and I’m looking forward to it. I’m very excited. I’ve been counting down the days. I’m tired of being here in Baltimore and I’m really looking forward to playing basketball.” While Dixon will definitely be returning overseas, he has yet to determine which team he will sign with. Many teams have expressed interest in his services, including his former team Unicaja Malaga, but he is still weighing his options.
This may seem like a surprise considering the low amount of money and exposure that D-League players receive. But rather than heading overseas and being out of sight, out of mind, some veterans are viewing the D-League as an extended tryout that allows teams to call them up as soon as their services are needed. If this becomes a trend in coming years, Juan Dixon will be the player credited with starting it. Rather than returning overseas when his FIBA suspension is lifted in February, Dixon has decided to enter his name in the D-League Draft. Dixon is expected to be one of the top picks in the draft this November.
Rather than training on his own, Dixon believes the D-League will give him a chance to stay in shape while showing what he can do in a game setting. While some teams may be hesitant to select Dixon and other veterans for fear that they’ll be immediately called up, someone will end up using a top selection on these players because of the exposure and wins that they’ll bring to the organization. League sources question whether or not veterans will be able to swallow their pride and put on a D-League jersey. But if Dixon finds his way onto an NBA roster this season, it will likely become a growing trend among veterans looking for a route back to the league.
“I can tell you for sure, I have a lot in my tank. I got a lot of basketball, at a high level, left. Give me an opportunity to compete against those guys in workouts, I’d be more than happy to do that. I’m not working extremely hard every day for nothing. Like I said, I have a lot of basketball left and I’m looking forward to getting the opportunity that’s out there,” he said. Once he gets that opportunity, Dixon believes that his recent experiences will allow him to surprise people next season. “I know I will [surprise everyone]. I know I will, for sure, just because of everything I’ve learned this year,” he said. Now that Dixon has been humbled and understands what it takes as a person and player to be successful in the NBA, he’s ready to make the most of this last chance. “The opportunity that only four hundred players get, to play on this level, when you’re in it for seven years and then you’re on the outside looking in, you realize just how blessed we are,” said Dixon. “Hopefully I get that opportunity again because I’ll completely take advantage of it.”
But, as has often been the case with Dixon’s career in recent years, things didn’t go as planned. In February, he tested positive for an anabolic steroid called nandrolone, putting his plan of returning to the NBA and future in Spain up in the air. While Dixon received a considerable amount of backlash for the incident, he swears it was an accident and the result of an over-the-counter supplement. “The supplement I took before last season was something that I got over-the-counter and it’s a supplement that’s legal,” Dixon told HOOPSWORLD. “You can go right up to the shelf and get it but once it goes into your body, a certain ingredient that’s in the product breaks down as some type of steroid.”
Dixon learned the hard way to the tune of a one-year suspension from FIBA. In comparison, Lewis was suspended for just ten games after his over -the-counter mistake and many felt the punishment handed down to Dixon was excessive. “I was surprised,” said Dixon. “I’m not happy with it but I have to serve a penalty and they decided to give me one year. It’s a long time but hopefully I can get a break this next season in the NBA.”