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1160024 2999-04-26 00:00:00.0 UTC 2999-04-25T20:00:00.000-04:00 2011-03-27 01:13:19.0 UTC 2011-03-26T21:13:19.000-04:00 former-lakewood-high-basketball-standout-ed-nixon-learning-to-adjust Published 2011-03-27 02:53:35.0 UTC 2011-03-26T22:53:35.000-04:00 sports/basketball/college DTI 73964671 SAN ANTONIO, Texas — He is a curious figure, the prep sports hero. His past is part myth, and his future is all projection. And for the ones who are not careful, it is easy to be caught in the netherworld in between. To his credit, Ed Nixon has come to understand this. There is no doubt he was a big shot back in the day at Lakewood High. His shots fell, his team won and the honors rolled in. Yet from the moment he stepped foot on campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, Nixon felt an imperceptible shift beneath his feet. All of his new teammates were high school hot shots. And all of them arrived with expectations and goals similar to his. "That's everybody's dream, to be an NBA star. Everybody wants to be as successful as they can," Nixon said Saturday from the NCAA Southwest Region. "But that life is not for everybody. I'm not saying it's totally out of the picture for me, but it's like a one-in-a-million chance that you make it into the league. So I have to play my cards right." This is what perspective sounds like. This is what humility has to offer. His career at VCU has not been the stuff of legend, and yet Nixon has turned it into the experience of a lifetime. He has gone from a perimeter player without much of a jump shot or defined role to one of the most trusted members of Shaka Smart's team that will play Kansas this afternoon with an invitation to the Final Four on the line. What has happened is that Nixon has learned. He has adapted and adjusted. When it became clear he was not going to be the scoring threat he was in high school, Nixon embraced the concept of being VCU's top defender. Along the way, he has put himself in position to graduate in the coming weeks with a degree in criminal justice. He has become part of the most successful senior class in VCU history. And he has outlasted those who either could not, or would not, adjust to the idea that life is never the same once you leave the halls of your high school. "I know a lot of people who had the talent and they let outside distractions pull them down," Nixon said. "That's a sad thing to see at the end of the day." For Crystal and Spencer Nixon, there is delight in hearing this. They encouraged the youngest of their four children to chase his dreams as far as they might take him, but they wanted him to understand that success can be measured in many ways. "My direction for him was that he could do anything he wanted if he set his mind to it," his mother said. "But my ultimate goal was that he be an honorable man. No matter what his status or station was in life, he could be honorable and respectful and responsible. "He may or may not continue playing basketball and land a job as a professional athlete, but it's reassuring to me that he is prepared for life no matter what he does." The idea of playing in one of basketball's minor leagues or even in Europe is not farfetched, and Nixon said he will explore whatever options come his way. But he is also considering the possibility of combining his education and his passion to become a basketball coach on either the high school or college level. In the meantime, he still has at least one more college game to go. Which is more than what he anticipated at this time two weeks ago. The Rams had ended the regular season in a bit of a funk, and their chances of making the NCAA Tournament field were shaky. Nixon could not bear to sit through the NCAA selection show, and so he closed the door of his room and watched the Cartoon Network while roommate Joey Rodriguez watched in another room as the brackets were unveiled. "We had watched the selection show when I was a freshman and ended up disappointed. So I didn't want to go through that again," Nixon said. "So I'm watching Johnny Test, enjoying myself, and all the sudden I hear Joey screaming. "I open my door and I see him running out the front door, so I went out and chased him and I hear him yelling, 'We're in, we're in.' " Two weeks later, VCU is 40 minutes away from becoming just the third No. 11 seed to reach the Final Four. "We're an extremely blessed team. Everything that needed to happen has happened. The path is set, we just need to do what we have to do," Nixon said. "We're making history, man." No, this isn't the exact path he expected coming out of St. Petersburg four years ago. But in ways that matter, it may even be better. John Romano can be reached at romano@sptimes.com. By John Romano, Times Sports Columnist College,Basketball,Sports Former Lakewood High basketball standout Ed Nixon learning to adjust expectations at Virginia Commonwealth ABRAFORDN 4STC Main Stardom unlikely, maturity assured 1 sp_romano032711 Stardom unlikely, maturity assured 2011-03-27 04:00:00.0 UTC 2011-03-27T00:00:00.000-04:00 false templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2011/03/26/73964671-former-lakewood-high-basketball-standout-ed-nixon-learning-to-adjust StaffArticle sports,basketballBasketballsports,basketball,collegeCollege BasketballSAN ANTONIO, Texas — He is a curious figure, the prep sports hero. His past is part myth, and his future is all projection. And for the ones who are not careful, it is easy to be caught in the netherworld in between.College,Basketball,SportsCollege,Basketball,SportsJohn Romano 380401 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:47:16.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:47:16.000-04:00 john-romano published 2013-02-13 19:07:30.0 UTC 2013-02-13T14:07:30.000-05:00 John Romano <p>Records have been destroyed and witnesses have gone missing, but <i>Tampa Bay Times</i> metro columnist John Romano would have you believe he was a product of the Pinellas County school system and the University of South Florida. He worked at the <i>Evening Independent</i> and the Palm Beach Post before being hired in the <i>Times</i>' sports department in 1985. Showing a remarkable lack of staying power, he has worked on beats covering USF, the University of Florida, Orlando Magic, Buccaneers and Rays before succeeding Hubert Mizell as a columnist in 2001. He became the metro columnist in 2012.</p> Times Columnist writers DTI 35043477 Records have been destroyed and witnesses have gone missing, but Tampa Bay Times metro columnist John Romano would have you believe he was a product of the Pinellas County school system and the University of South Florida. He worked at the Evening Independent and the Palm Beach Post before being hired in the Times' sports department in 1985. Showing a remarkable lack of staying power, he has worked on beats covering USF, the University of Florida, Orlando Magic, Buccaneers and Rays before succeeding Hubert Mizell as a columnist in 2001. He became the metro columnist in 2012. <p>Email: <a href="mailto:romano@tampabay.com">romano@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/romano_tbtimes">@Romano_TBTimes</a></p> 1 resources/images/dti/2012/10/Romano_John_wp.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/35043477-john-romano AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:47:16.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:47:16.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">JOHN ROMANO</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Sports Columnist 2287068 2016-07-27 19:25:02.0 UTC 1 Month Ago tournament-win-makes-golf-career-an-option-for-former-gaither-standout sports/golf/preps Tournament win makes golf career an option for former Gaither standout Jimmy Stanger StaffArticle 2289000 2016-08-10 23:09:23.0 UTC 3 Weeks Ago expectations-remain-high-for-mitchells-volleyball-team sports/volleyballpreps Expectations remain high for Mitchell's volleyball team StaffArticle 2283586 2016-06-29 20:43:58.0 UTC 2 Months Ago former-high-school-wrestling-champ-to-compete-for-mixed-martial-arts-title sports/community Former high school wrestling champ to compete for mixed martial arts title StaffArticle <p>SAN ANTONIO, Texas — He is a curious figure, the prep sports hero. His past is part myth, and his future is all projection. And for the ones who are not careful, it is easy to be caught in the netherworld in between.</p> <p>To his credit, Ed Nixon has come to understand this. There is no doubt he was a big shot back in the day at Lakewood High. His shots fell, his team won and the honors rolled in.</p> <p>Yet from the moment he stepped foot on campus at Virginia Commonwealth University, Nixon felt an imperceptible shift beneath his feet. All of his new teammates were high school hot shots. And all of them arrived with expectations and goals similar to his.</p> <p>&quot;That's everybody's dream, to be an NBA star. Everybody wants to be as successful as they can,&quot; Nixon said Saturday from the NCAA Southwest Region. &quot;But that life is not for everybody. I'm not saying it's totally out of the picture for me, but it's like a one-in-a-million chance that you make it into the league. So I have to play my cards right.&quot;</p> <p>This is what perspective sounds like. This is what humility has to offer.</p> <p>His career at VCU has not been the stuff of legend, and yet Nixon has turned it into the experience of a lifetime.</p> <p>He has gone from a perimeter player without much of a jump shot or defined role to one of the most trusted members of Shaka Smart's team that will play Kansas this afternoon with an invitation to the Final Four on the line.</p> <p>What has happened is that Nixon has learned. He has adapted and adjusted. When it became clear he was not going to be the scoring threat he was in high school, Nixon embraced the concept of being VCU's top defender.</p> <p>Along the way, he has put himself in position to graduate in the coming weeks with a degree in criminal justice. He has become part of the most successful senior class in VCU history. And he has outlasted those who either could not, or would not, adjust to the idea that life is never the same once you leave the halls of your high school.</p> <p>&quot;I know a lot of people who had the talent and they let outside distractions pull them down,&quot; Nixon said. &quot;That's a sad thing to see at the end of the day.&quot;</p> <p>For Crystal and Spencer Nixon, there is delight in hearing this. They encouraged the youngest of their four children to chase his dreams as far as they might take him, but they wanted him to understand that success can be measured in many ways.</p> <p>&quot;My direction for him was that he could do anything he wanted if he set his mind to it,&quot; his mother said. &quot;But my ultimate goal was that he be an honorable man. No matter what his status or station was in life, he could be honorable and respectful and responsible.</p> <p>&quot;He may or may not continue playing basketball and land a job as a professional athlete, but it's reassuring to me that he is prepared for life no matter what he does.&quot;</p> <p>The idea of playing in one of basketball's minor leagues or even in Europe is not farfetched, and Nixon said he will explore whatever options come his way.</p> <p>But he is also considering the possibility of combining his education and his passion to become a basketball coach on either the high school or college level.</p> <p>In the meantime, he still has at least one more college game to go. Which is more than what he anticipated at this time two weeks ago.</p> <p>The Rams had ended the regular season in a bit of a funk, and their chances of making the NCAA Tournament field were shaky.</p> <p>Nixon could not bear to sit through the NCAA selection show, and so he closed the door of his room and watched the Cartoon Network while roommate Joey Rodriguez watched in another room as the brackets were unveiled.</p> <p>&quot;We had watched the selection show when I was a freshman and ended up disappointed. So I didn't want to go through that again,&quot; Nixon said. &quot;So I'm watching <i>Johnny Test</i>, enjoying myself, and all the sudden I hear Joey screaming.</p> <p>&quot;I open my door and I see him running out the front door, so I went out and chased him and I hear him yelling, 'We're in, we're in.' &quot;</p> <p>Two weeks later, VCU is 40 minutes away from becoming just the third No. 11 seed to reach the Final Four.</p> <p>&quot;We're an extremely blessed team. Everything that needed to happen has happened. The path is set, we just need to do what we have to do,&quot; Nixon said. &quot;We're making history, man.&quot;</p> <p>No, this isn't the exact path he expected coming out of St. Petersburg four years ago. But in ways that matter, it may even be better.</p> <p><i>John Romano can be reached at romano@sptimes.com.</i></p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:31:33