On the Court with Jayden Nixon

Photo by Lauren Canna/The Choate News

Jayden Nixon ’18 smoothly dodges opponents, dominating the court.

Jayden Nixon ’18 has been dominating on the basketball court this season and he is a big part of Choate’s hot start this year. Associate Editor Joseph Coyne ’19 sat down to talk with Nixon about basketball, life at Choate, and his goals for the future.Jayden Nixon ’18 has been dominating on the basketball court this season and he is a big part of Choate’s hot start this year. Associate Editor Joseph Coyne ’19 sat down to talk with Nixon about basketball, life at Choate, and his goals for the future.

Joseph Coyne: How long have you been playing basketball?

Jayden Nixon: I have been playing basketball ever since I was a kid, maybe five or six years old.  I started playing competitively in fifth grade though.

JC: Did you play any other sports growing up?

JN: I played football until sixth grade; I played lacrosse until seventh grade. I also just started running track.

JC: When did you know basketball was the sport for you?

JN: It’s kind of hard to say.  Sometimes I don’t feel like it is the sport for me, but I started getting a lot better at it when I grew into my body and a lot of the growing pains stopped in ninth grade.  That was really the first time I actually believed I could get really good.  That was when I started working really hard.

JC: Did you play on a lot of travel or AAU teams for basketball?

JN: I started playing AAU in fifth grade on the team in the area with a bunch of kids from around there.  Then I started playing on the Nike circuit when I was in tenth grade, and that was when I really started going to a lot of the big tournaments in Las Vegas, Texas, just all over the country.

JC: What are some of the lessons basketball and sports in general have taught you?

JN: Basketball has taught me a lot about humility and confidence.  It has also taught me a lot about being yourself and not being just one specific person. A lot of basketball players think they are just basketball players and they can’t do anything else, and I don’t want that to be me. Basketball opens up so many different opportunities for you whether it be academically, culturally, or socially, so I have just learned to embrace all of those things and good things will keep coming. It has helped me boost my confidence to do what I like and has helped me explore new things, so I can see if I like or don’t like them. It has also just taught me about experiencing failure and how to deal with it. In basketball, failure happens a lot, so in the classroom, if I get a bad grade, I know how to deal with that and bounce back because of the experiences I have had over the years.

JC: What has been the hardest part about playing basketball?

JN: The hardest part for me is learning how to keep your composure and not wavering in the face of failure or adversity. Especially playing as a potential college recruit, you will always have college coaches coming up to you and saying that you might not be the right fit for their team, or you might not be good enough.

JC: How has basketball opened doors for you throughout your life?

JN: The biggest one right now is the opportunity basketball gave me to come to Choate.  Last year, I had a pretty good season, and a lot of coaches were talking to me about recruitment, but I decided to come here because it offered so many new opportunities both academically and athletically. That’s a big one.

JC: How was your transition into Choate?

JN: At first it was kind of hard. Being a new PG you don’t know anyone while a lot of people have been together for four years, but everyone took me in with open arms. I have made really great life-long friendships with everyone on the basketball team as well as outside the basketball team. I feel like the whole transition has been kind of rocky at first, because the school itself is just very hard, but overall it has been very good. I am really happy now with the way it has all turned out. I have been able to really embrace the entire Choate community, so I am not just a basketball player. I am able to do a lot of different clubs and make a lot of friends. I have also been able to learn a lot of great lessons from my basketball coach and my teammates. Just being able to have this extra year as a high school student has been great for me.

JC: What are your goals for the Choate team this year?

JN: Right now we are 10-1, so hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to win the New England Class A Title.

JC: What are your goals for playing basketball in the future?

JN: I am not really sure yet. I know right now my main goal is to play basketball in college and have basketball open up opportunities for me, like it did with Choate. Other than that, I don’t have much in mind, but I know I want to keep playing because I really love the game and all that comes with it.

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