He's a 6-foot-7 forward who made first team all-state in Class 4A this year, but at 15, Dalton Nixon has plenty of time to think about where he wants to play his college basketball.
Regardless, the Orem 2014 recruit took his first big step into the recruiting world this morning, when he was offered a scholarship by Utah State assistant Chris Jones.
"Utah State was one of the first schools to show interest in me last summer," Nixon says. "Coach [Tarvarish] Felton watched some of my games and was really impressed."
The Aggies held up their reputation of being first to the table when it comes to in-state recruits, but in Nixon's case, it's unlikely they'll be the last. BYU, Utah, Hawaii and Creighton are all in contact with him, and several coaches from those schools have been watching Nixon play for Utah Pump-N-Run 16U Elite this spring.
What does Nixon offer? A lot.
The son of former Cougars forward Kevin Nixon, he averaged about 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this year for the state champion Tigers. But he's not just a fluid post player - Nixon also shot 33 3-pointers during the season. He says he's working on his perimeter defense so he can play at small forward, but doctors have told him he could keep growing.
At UPNR's most recent tournament in Long Beach, Nixon averaged about 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as the squad reached the semifinals of the tournament. If he has a similarly strong summer, many more teams around the West could be courting his services.
"It's cool, ever since I was young I wanted to play college basketball," Nixon says. "It's pretty fun playing these games and talking to coaches."
Nixon says at this point, he has no favorites. He didn't say he was specifically looking for another school to get invested, but added that the lure of playing in the Pac-12 was one of Utah's strengths.
The sentimental favorite could be his father's alma mater - BYU was supposedly a bit slow to recruit the 15-year-old, but is now in the thick of the fray. But if Kevin Nixon has his own aspirations for the one his son picks, he's stayed mum on the issue.
"He's just letting me do my own thing," Dalton Nixon says. "We're just going to keep talking to schools, but he's not telling me to lean any way. I'm just having fun, and playing with a good group of kids."
• Also of note in basketball: Riverton 6-foot guard D McCleary will play at BYU-Hawaii. McCleary was the Silver Wolves' leading scorer during the 2011-12 season with nearly 15 points per game and played a key role in leading the team to a semifinals berth in the Class 5A playoffs.
- Kyle Goon
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