Chris Murphy, Published July 10 2013
ESPN's Jimmy Dykes makes visit to West FargoWEST FARGO – Not many people would consider themselves lucky to fly from Arkansas to Chicago to Fargo and back on four flights in less than 48 hours.
ESPN and ABC Sports basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes was more than happy to do so to talk about two topics he holds close to his heart at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Basketball Bash at West Fargo High School on Wednesday.
“Basketball has given me a platform to share God’s written word, so tonight I get to talk about two things I have a great love for and a great respect for and are very important to me,” Dykes said. “I feel very fortunate and blessed to be worthy enough to have an invite to fly from Fayetteville, Ark., this morning to Chicago to Fargo, speak to a group of people tonight and fly home (Thursday). That’s a great honor.”
Dykes has been surrounded by basketball his entire life. He played at the University of Arkansas and graduated in 1985. After that, he was an assistant coach at six colleges, including the University of Arkansas, University of Kentucky and Oklahoma State University. He served as an NBA scout before going to ESPN. His basketball opinion has been on display for nearly two decades and he is a big fan of Milwaukee Bucks 6-foot-5 point guard out of South Dakota State University Nate Wolters. Born in St. Cloud, Minn., Wolters was the 38th overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Even though he works 60 games a year, Dykes remembered Wolters.
“Saw him once in person two years ago,” Dykes said. “I’m impressed with his size, his change of speeds, his ability to take the ball anywhere he wants it and his great tight handle on the ball. He has an unorthodox way of shooting the ball, but it goes in at a high rate. I think he’s going to have a long career. I think teams that passed on him earlier in that draft are going to look back and regret it. He’s a better athlete than people realize. He’s got a little bit of cockiness and confidence about him that you want in your lead guard.”
No analyst is going to leave out what needs to be fixed.
“I think the concern is how quick is he defensively and that’s not something you can fix,” Dykes said. “The only way to fix that for him would be to learn the shortcuts and study the game. Smart equates to quick on the basketball court. He’s going to be a trusted teammate, he’s a great locker-room guy. Guys are going to love playing for him. He’s coachable and he stands for the right things. The only question mark is if he’s explosive enough on the defensive end that he doesn’t become a liability. I don’t think he will be a liability, but that is a question a lot of teams have.”
Wednesday, Dykes was back talking to young athletes as if he was coaching again.
“I have a platform that allows me to get in front of people and share with people about my life and what I think is important,” Dykes said. “I’m not equating basketball to religion, I’m equating basketball to life and what’s important in those areas.”
As for getting back on the bench, Dykes hasn’t ruled it out after the remaining three years left on his contract with ESPN.
“If you’ve been a coach, it never really leaves you,” Dykes said. “I don’t worry about the future. I’m secure where I’m at right now. If I’m coaching again somewhere that’s great. If I’m at ESPN for another 10 years that’s great. Just have to see where the Lord takes me.”
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