Nov. 13, 2008
DEKALB, Ill. -
Northern Illinois head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton bolstered his Windy City recruiting ties Wednesday, with the official signing of 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard Tony Nixon. Nixon is a South Holland, Ill., product, and is in his senior season at Seton Academy. He will have four years of eligibility beginning in the 2009-10 campaign.
Nixon, who verbally committed to the Huskies in September, became one of the most sought-after players in the state of Illinois after enjoying a breakout season on the AAU circuit last summer. He also drew recruiting attention from the likes of Fresno State, Drake, UTEP, Gonzaga, Michigan, Tennessee and George Mason.
"The signing of Tony Nixon is a great step in the right direction for Northern Illinois basketball," said Patton. "Not only will he be an asset to our program, he will also attract other good players from the state of Illinois to play alongside him.
"He (Nixon) is as big of a signee for Northern Illinois as Chauncey Billups was, when I was coaching at Colorado. He will have that type of impact on our program. They are certainly not the same player at this point of their respective careers, but Tony coming to Northern Illinois means as much to us as Chauncey (Billups) opting to play at Colorado did."
At 6-foot-4, Nixon's size and length should be an asset for the Huskies' backcourt, especially with the arrival of 6-foot-5 guard Xavier Silas, a Colorado transfer, who is sitting out the 2008-09 campaign.
"Tony's size is going to bode well for us," Patton said. "He is a 6-foot-4 guard that plays very physical. When you think about putting him alongside a 6-5 guard in Xavier Silas, it's pretty exciting to think about how talented our wing players could be next season. Tony certainly has the size to play in a BCS conference."
Nixon was a fixture in building Seton Academy into a power in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Catholic school started the basketball program just five years ago, and already boasts a regional championship. Seton Academy is favored to win the Illinois Class 2A state championship this season.
"Tony's high school coach, Ken Stevenson, has done a tremendous job building Seton Academy into one of the powerhouses in the city of Chicago. He took a program that needed to be built from the ground up, and turned it into a winner. I think that gave Tony confidence that he could help do the same thing here (at NIU). He wants to be part of the group that turned this program around."