STORY & PHOTOS BY GLENN NELSON
LOUSIVILLE, Ky. - Lorin Dixon essentially has been minding her own business, doing what she does. Which is considerable.
In my mind's eye, Dixon is the precocious sophomore who dared to be great. With the Christ the King bench yelling, "Go, go, go," she went, went, went - right into the teeth of a Piedmont (Calif.) defense that included the imposing, 6-foot-4 Courtney Paris and her inch-shorter twin, Ashley. And, at 5-4 and just a glint in the galaxy of stars that graced the court at the 2004 Nike TOC championship game that day, she hit the winning layup with 3.3 seconds left, giving Christ the King the first of two straight national titles.
Having added range and stop-and-pop ability to her jet-propelled offense and bee-hive defense, Dixon is far more complete a player. She has signed with storied Connecticut, joining consensus No. 1 senior Maya Moore, just competed in the McDonald's All-American Game and is headed to the WBCA All-Star Game in Cleveland. This spring should have amounted to a victory lap for her.
But what amounted to the most well-publicized tantrum in girl's high-school basketball history has removed some of the luster. And it wasn't even Dixon who was responsible for the controversial finish to Christ the King's season.
The consequence has been the wide-spread questioning of Dixon's winning the Miss Basketball honor in New York. Many argue that Erica Morrow deserved the award because she helped Murry Bergtraum win the Class AA Federation title.
"Erica is a great player," Dixon said of Morrow, who was a East squad teammate at McDonald's. "Either one of us could've won. If she would have won, I would have been happy for her."
At HoopGurlz.com, we consider Morrow to be an excellent player. She can shoot the three, handle the ball and is an extremely effective defender. However, during the McDonald's Game, and during multiple viewings of both players, we found Dixon to be the more dynamic player, one who lifts her team with her athletic energy and as a instigator, for example, off the dribble and on defense. It is why we have her ranked higher than Morrow, though we also have Morrow highly considered.
The No. 19 overall prospect in 2007, Dixon concedes the perception of Morrow being the bigger postseason achiever. Christ the King had its string of CHSAA AA state championships snapped at 17 when John the Baptist upset the Royals 54-51 in the title game. However, as Dixon points out, "They pick Miss Basketbal before the state playoffs." And, with regard to the postseason, she adds, "We didn't really have a fair shot."
Oh yeah, did we mention the argument in Dixon's favor, that she didn't have nearly the supporting cast that Morrow enjoyed? That may have been the case even if jump-shooting, would-be model and American Idol aspirant Sky Lindsay hadn't abandoned her team on the eve of the postseason. While Lindsay's mother told New York newspapers that her daughter suffered an injury slipping on ice, Dixon confirmed whispers that the issue was the amount of attention Lindsay was receiving.
"We felt like she let us down," Dixon said. "She came to our games, but was never at practice. When you play for Christ the King, it's not about the individual, it's about the team. She just didn't feel the same way about it. That did impact the team a lot, but at the beginning of the playoffs, we got together and said we would pull together as a team.
"The game we lost, we just played a bad game. We didn't miss her."
(See photo of Lorin Dixon that recently was restored in the McDonald's Photo Gallery: Click Here)
Jordan Jones Update
With the possibility of Ta'Shia Phillips bypassing the regular signing period, the hottest prospect during the April 11 to May 16 Letter of Intent spree almost certainly will be Jordan Jones of Collins Hill in Suwanee, Ga. Shooters are much like post players in their rarity, and Jones is among the best long-distance connectors in this class.
Jones is back in the recruiting game after asking for, and being granted, a release from her National LOI with Texas Tech. After an uncle died and an aunt was placed on a kidney donor list, the 5-9 guard decided to play her college ball closer to home.
Ironically, the two top unsigned players in 2007 both committed to Kristy Curry - Phillips, when Curry was coach at Purdue, and Jones, after Curry moved to Tech. There is a chance that Jones and Phillips could end up as teammates - if Purdue has the scholarships - because both like the Boilermakers. Jones also has Auburn, South Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest on her short list. All have offered.
The No. 50 overall prospect in 2007, according to HoopGurlz.com, Jones made an official visit to Wake Forest earlier this week and wants to make officials to the other candidate schools before making a decision.
Jones was a key member of Collins Hill High School, which finished unbeaten ranked No. 1 in the nation by both Full Court Press and USA Today. Maya Moore, the consensus No. 1 in the 2007 class, was a teammate of Jones' at Collins Hill.
Sarah Boothe, a polished, 6-5 post out of Gurnee, Ill., who is the No. 24 overall prospect in the 2008 class, made a visit to Stanford last weekend. ... Chandler McCabe of Bishop Moore in Orlando,
Fla., is a 6-4, 2008 prospect with wing-type skills. She recently narrowed her list of schools to Florida State, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton and West Virginia. ... We still were in the middle of state-tournament mania when the commitment occurred, so we haven't had a chance to weigh in on Tiffany Hayes' decision to attend Connecticut. It would be, "Wow." We don't yet have the 2008 class fully vetted, but when we do, Hayes, the 5-10 guard out of Winter Haven, Fla., certainly will be among the cream. It is quite a fleet that Geno Auriemma is putting together in Storrs. Next year, Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon join Tina Charles. A year after, Hayes and Caroline Doty of Ft. Washington, Pa., join them. Both of them are very athletic, can handle the ball and put it in the hole. We're just day dreaming the way Geno might, but 6-3 Heather Buck moves well enough to fill the middle of such a mobile group and, of course, Elena DelleDonne would be the light's out shooter the team would lack.
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Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached
the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girl's basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle
Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He
can be reached at email@example.com.