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Derek Dixon Q&A



One of the top programs in the country is the storied Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. The program runs deep with talent and was young in 2023-24, returning the majority of its top players. One of their top players is rising senior and Team Takeover guard Derek Dixon. Dixon is a high-feel guard who is versatile enough to excel in a variety of roles, regardless of whether he’s playing on or off the ball. He’s a proven P&R playmaker who never gets sped up, as well as an incredibly gifted shotmaker. He is a key piece, both for Gonzaga and Team Takeover, who place a lot of value on his malleability.


In this interview with Pro Insight’s Zach Welch, Dixon talked about his role versatility between Gonzaga and Team Takeover, what he wants to show coaches this summer, his favorite moments from March Madness, some NBA players he’s been studying lately, and much more.


For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2025 prospect Derek Dixon, from Washington, D.C.:


Pro Insight: Can you walk us through what this last high school season was like for you? 


Derek Dixon: Last season, I was an upperclassman for the first time. I had to lead more and push my teammates to be the best that we could be and take on a bigger role, scoring-wise, playmaking, all those types of things. Getting us through those big environments, because I had been there before.


PI: What was that transition like for you being an upperclassman and having to take on more both on and off the court?


DD: Coach Turner really stressed to me that my voice was powerful and that I was going to have to lead a lot more and as an upperclassman, I tried to do that. That's definitely something I've been working on and still want to work on because as a guard, at the next level, that's something that coaches want: someone who leads and talks and things like that. And then off the court, I just had to push people to be the best they can be, because off the court reflects on the court, and on the court reflects off the court. So just had to be disciplined and sticking your head down to work.


PI: As you're trying to transition to being more of a leader throughout the year, are there any people that you're trying to learn from? Is it more of a self-reflection process? What was it like for you?


DD: I think being on the varsity team for two years before last year, I got to see what the older guys did then and take from that. I then also see all my teammates, who lead by example, who lead by talking, and what can I take from each of them and apply some for myself.


PI: And as far as your on-the-court transition, what was that like for you? Getting to take more shots and be one of the guys that the team was relying on in that way.


DD: Yeah, sophomore year, I had a little bit of that, but I was asked a lot more just catch-and-shoot and get buckets in spurts. But last year, I was relied on to score, and I had to do more off the dribble, do more off ball screens, making plays for my teammates, and then also still doing a good job trying to make sure I get a bucket when I need to.


PI: When you think back to the season, what were some of the highlights of it for you?


DD: Yeah, I think playing in Arkansas, we won the King Cotton Classic, that was a big moment for us and that was early in the season. I think we started 14-0, we won the DC Classic as well, which is our home tournament. Down the stretch, we didn't exactly finish how we wanted, but we're going to take that into next year.


PI: What do you think your biggest takeaway or lesson that you learned this year was?


DD: I think just honestly learning from the losses and taking that into next year, like I said. The feeling that I had after we lost the championship game, after we lost in the States, just taking that feeling and that pain and knowing that I've been there before and making sure I don't repeat that next year.


PI: And what's your favorite off-the-court memory from this past season?


DD: I'd have to say going out with my teammates in Chicago, that’s always fun. Chicago is a big city, it's always our first game that we play. Just going shopping with them, going to eat with them was a lot of fun. 


PI: What do you think the biggest way that your game evolved this year was?


DD: Yeah, I touched on it before, but before I was seen as a shooter, primarily. I think last summer, playing with Team Takeover 16U – and into this past season – I showed my on-ball skills and the fact that I could play both point guard and shooting guard and I wasn't just a scoring guard. The fact that I could make plays with my team and work in ball screens, things like that were the biggest things I showed.


PI: Do you think that that's always been something that's been in your bag, or did you have to put work in to develop into that role?


DD: Yeah, growing up, I played a lot of point guard and I think in middle school – because I could shoot the ball so well – they asked me to be a shooter. But growing up, I was a point guard. I made plays and had been a primary passer, really. Then in middle school, I made that switch. Obviously, there were things I had to work on now that I'm at a higher level, but I think it was in me from that.


PI: Now heading into this summer, what are you looking forward to most?


DD: It’s my last AAU season. Takeover is a great program with a lot of expectations, and I think we can live up to them. That's what I'm looking forward to: spending time with my guys and really fighting with them to win that championship.


PI: What do you think it takes to win Peach Jam?


DD: Coach Jamil is really pushing us; he's making us work hard. Defense is a big thing for him because they were the number-one defense last year, and he really saw that as a big factor in them winning Peach Jam. So he's definitely pushing that on us and I think playing as a unit and with our team. I think playing fast is going to be really important for us.


PI: Do you think that your role with Team Takeover is pretty similar to what it was like this past season, or do you think that you're going to be asked to do some different things as opposed to what you're doing with Gonzaga?


DD: I think it's going to be similar because I'm going to be still playing alongside Nyk, but I think it's going to be a little bit different. We're going to play a lot faster and shot clocks will be shorter, things like that. So I'm going to have to get shots up quicker, like I said, playing in transition, playing faster and just really being confident. That's what Jamil stressed on me a lot, just being confident and shooting the ball because now I can do it this summer.


PI: What's it like for you playing with a good amount of your high school teammates when summer rolls around, too?


DD: Yeah, it's always good because we built that chemistry; we built that bond together. We don't have to rebuild those things. And also a lot of the guys that I'm playing with were there last year, so I'm used to them. But just having that year-round, being around those guys, I'm really used to how they play and how they are off the court.


PI: Do you have any individual goals or milestones that you have your eyes set on this summer?


DD: Obviously winning Peach Jam, but that's more of a team thing. I'd say, individually, just continue to show coaches that I'm a true combo guard; I can play on or off the ball and just being confident in myself. Shooting when I need to shoot, making plays when I need to make plays and yeah, that's really it.


PI: Are there any areas of your game outside of confidence that you're looking to hone in on some more over the next few months?


DD: Leadership is something I've improved on, but it's something I'm still working on and then defense a lot. Jamil is really stressing that, so I’m trying to work on that.


PI: What's the latest with your recruitment? How's that been going as you're trying to show what your role is going to look like in the next level?


DD: My recruitment has been really good so far. Trying to keep building and continuing to show coaches what I can do. I'm happy with the schools I have right now, and I'm really grateful and blessed to be in this position.


PI: Were you watching March Madness at all this year?


DD: Yes, of course.


PI: What were some of your takeaways or favorite moments from it?


DD: Obviously, the upsets are always fun. Favorite moments? I'd say NC State's run, that was pretty cool to see. DJ Burns was working.


PI: If you could walk away from this summer leaving one takeaway in the minds of coaches and fans who have been watching you. What do you want that to be?


DD: I think a big thing for me is continued improvement. The fact that I get better every year, and I want them to see that and to be able to show that. Getting better in every aspect, improving all my weaknesses and improving all my strengths and making my weaknesses strengths and things like that. Because I think that in the long run, improvement is really what's going to separate the ones at the top because everybody at this level is talented. I think if I can continue to improve year after year, that's something that's really important.


PI: Where did that mindset come from? Is that something that you have always had or did you learn it from someone?


DD: I think it's something I've always had. I'm really determined, whatever I set my mind to. Right now it's basketball and I work as hard as I can and just try to be the best version of myself that I can be.


PI: For sure. Are there any NBA or college players that you've really enjoyed their game that you've been watching a lot of lately.


DD: Yeah. I think the two guys that I really pattern my game after, that I study would be Steph Curry and Devin Booker. I think those guys that are guards that can really shoot the ball, and they do it a little differently. Steph's on the threes and stepbacks and things like that, Devin Booker is more mid-range. So I take bits and pieces from their games and add it to mine.


PI: What's your mindset heading into next year, your senior year?


DD: Really just kill. I'm going to kill everybody, win it all. Like I said, I felt the pain of losing last year and coming back and returning all five starters, so we all know that and we've all been in those moments and we're going to be one of the best teams in the country. We're going to try to win every single time. That's really the mindset.

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