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BYU Cougars basketball: Freshman Dalton Nixon postpones mission to play now

The BYU men’s basketball team got some comforting news on Monday, June 2 when freshman forward Dalton Nixon surprised everyone by saying he will postpone his church mission one year to play for the Cougars.

The BYU Cougars now have a crowded frontcourt with the addition of freshman forward Dalton Nixon. Pictured: UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nixon, a product out of nearby Orem High School was expected to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But his 11th hour decision--made just before he was to leave for Boston on his mission underscores how interesting the battle for playing time will be now that center Eric Mika is gone on his mission.

With the addition of Nixon, BYU has six players competing immediately for two spots on the floor at the three and four positions--seven when UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes enters the fray in late December. To say the Cougar front court is crowded is an understatement, indeed.

According to BYU head coach Dave Rose, adding Nixon isn’t a problem at all. In fact, it’s a good thing. “Dalton will be a great addition to our roster,” Rose said in a press release Monday. “He had a great high school career and won a lot of games. He’s very skilled and has good size. We’re excited to have him.”

Nixon added that he is very excited about having a chance to play significant minutes immediately for BYU--but that ultimately, he wants what is best for his teammates and doesn’t want to be a distraction. To illustrate his feelings about the situation, Nixon opted not to use up one of BYU’s coveted scholarships this season and pay his own way into school.

“I’m really excited to be on the team this coming season,” Nixon said in Monday's press release. “I’m going to work hard this summer and plan to do whatever I can to help the team this year.”

The 6-7, 220-pound Nixon averaged over 20 points per game and hauled in nine rebounds for Orem and is a three-time All-State selection. He is the son of former BYU standout Kevin Nixon and ended his career at Orem as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

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