By Chandler Morrison, Staff Writer —
Two basketball Mocs are taking journeys beyond their careers inside McKenzie Arena as they attempt to move toward greener pastures this offseason.
Junior forward Makinde London, Nashville, declared for the NBA draft March 30 to bookend his two-year career for Chattanooga. Although short, London’s impact on Mocs basketball has been nearly insurmountable for a new coach building a program.
“When he’s at his finest, he can really impact the game in a lot of different ways,” explained Head Coach Lamont Paris. “He’s able to rebound, pass the ball, and score with his might and athleticism. He can really make a difference in a multitude of ways.”
Under NBA bylaws, London can declare for the draft and still stay eligible for the play as an amateur at the college level. Paris confirmed that he does not have an agent and that the program is helping him in anyway he can while he is evaluated by scouts.
London could potentially come back to UTC and has until June 11 to make the final call. He is currently not slated to be picked in the latest NBA mock drafts.
With another year of eligibility for junior guard Nat Dixon, Panama City, Florida, he’ll look to transfer as a graduate of Chattanooga to another Division I school. As he is a graduate, he will not have to sit out a year, heading straight into another system.
“Plays hard and obviously led us in scoring,” said Paris. “He was able to score in a variety of ways. I would say he was probably the most we had as a three-point shooter, but he also played hard, and that was important for us.”
Dixon has not signed with any school yet but has visited Memphis and Wake Forest in the past two weeks. He has also reportedly been contacted by Xavier, Creighton, Nevada, St. Bonaventure, and St. Louis. From reports, both Penny Hardaway at Memphis and Travis Steele at Xavier–both first year head coaches–have a strong interest in the Chattanooga guard.
Although both London and Dixon are looking to move on from the Scenic City, the shoes they filled while they were at Chattanooga will be a challenge.
“Those guys were two of our leading three scorers,” said Paris.“We’ll do it by committee and try to bring in some new guys. I’m thankful for the time they both have had here. I glad we’ve been able to help them move forward…both on and off the court.”
The loss of London and Dixon will not be understated next season, especially if London does not return from draft evaluations, as the Mocs will be without a senior on the roster. That could be a positive, though, for a team ready to grow under a then-second year head coach in Paris.