SPORTS

'Point guard U' re-invented: Bryce Nixon could be Arizona's next great point guard

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Courtesy Bryce Nixon

2018 Arizona commit Bryce Nixon dribbles up the court during a game in 2016. Nixon was this year's 5A Offensive Player of the Year.

What if I told you that Arizona recruited a player who averaged 20 points, dished out nearly five assists and stole the ball over three times per game last season? What if I told you that same player led her team to a 26-3 record in that season? What if I topped it off by revealing that this player, who has one more year of high school left, is from Arizona? Would you be interested?

That player’s name is Bryce Nixon — and she’s verbally committed to becoming a Wildcat in 2018.

Nixon is a 5-foot-ten guard who can do it all. She has great court awareness, loves to play in an up-tempo style and is the best offensive guard in the state. Though Nixon is ranked as a three-star prospect by HoopGurlz rankings, don’t let that fool you; she was a coveted prospect nationwide.

Nixon held offers from 13 schools before narrowing it down to Oregon State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Gonzaga. Of the five schools on her final list, she chose Arizona — the lone team out of the five not in last year’s NCAA tournament. Why? Because of her relationship with Arizona head coach Adia Barnes

“I looked at a lot of schools and I realized that relationships were a really big factor,” Nixon said. “Adia (Barnes) just really stood out and she is not just a good coach but a great mentor and I trust her and we’re really close which is important to me.”

Nixon is no slouch. She has tremendous ability, a silky smooth release, a lethal step back jumper and has tremendous court vision. She'll be able to hold her own at the next level, part of the reason why she chose to play in perhaps the toughest conference in the country, the Pac-12.

Bryce Nixon take a shot against Chaparral High School. Nixon is a 2018 commit for Arizona women's basketball.

One need only look at Nixon’s highlights and competitive spirit to realize that she’ll be more than prepared to handle the transition from high school to college play. Her selection to the state 5A first team, capped with her being named 5A Offensive Player of the Year, only affirms her readiness.

Nixon is also quite capable in the classroom. She sports a 4.1 GPA at Arcadia High School and is hoping to major in marketing upon her arrival to the UA. She doesn’t lack confidence, nor should she; her optimism and vision combined with the change of culture instilled by Coach Barnes should help turn around Arizona women’s basketball.

Nixon says her goal before she arrives to the UA is to win a state championship. She has a similar goal in mind for when she arrives in Tucson.

“I would love to win a national championship,” Nixon said.

Wipe that smirk off your face, because Nixon isn’t kidding — even UConn was a bottom-feeder before breaking through to the Final Four in legendary coach Geno Auriemmas' sixth season. When Nixon hits her senior year at Arizona, Adia Barnes will be in her sixth year of coaching.

In fact, even this year’s national champion, South Carolina, toiled around the .500 mark just six years ago. While an Arizona national championship isn’t a certainty, it is a possibility when you have players who entertain the vision of success that Nixon does.

Nixon will join a completely revamped Arizona squad that will feature two other five-star prospects — Catherine Reese and Valeria Trucco — as well as Shalyse Smith, another versatile three-star prospect from Tacoma, Washington.

For now though Nixon is set to wrap up her final summer as a high school player. She’ll be participating in the Arizona Elite Summer Classic at Inspire Courts in Gilbert, AZ, July 23-25 before preparing for her final season at Arcadia.


Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.



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