When Itoro Coleman recruited Nikki Dixon, she had defense in mind.
Little did she know that her rangy, energetic 5-10 'sleeper' out of Alpharetta, Ga. would prove to be the Lady Tigers' leading scorer and one of the ACC's best all-around freshmen.
As Coleman and her staff blend a talented group of newcomers into a sophomore-dominated team this season, Dixon will be a centerpiece in whatever the Lady Tigers do.
She's Coleman's kind of a player - a 'do-it-all' with a passion for competition and improvement.
"I didn't expect it to happen the way it did," said Coleman. "We recruited Nikki for defense, and expected that her offense would come a little later. She ended up being our leading scorer, and that definitely wasn't my expectation coming in."
Coleman said that Dixon "is a fun player to watch" because she's everywhere, doing everything she does with energy and infectious enthusiasm.
"Nikki is a slasher. She gets into passing lanes. She rebounds. She takes charges. And she starts our fast break," Coleman said. She's our energizer out on the court."
Coleman said Dixon worked during the summer to round out her game by adding a pull-up jumper to repertoire.
"Her shot has improved," said Coleman. "She just does so much for us. Nikki is going to be on the ground, she's going to get loose balls, and she's going to make the plays that count...
"To me, that's a great compliment to how hard she works. She wants to get it done. She wants to get better. She has a drive that few players have. She wants it and she works at it."