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Basketball: Signed and sealed

Profile image for By Ben Baby / Staff Writer
By Ben Baby / Staff Writer

Dickerson follows older brother to Division I

Before Zach Dickerson ever put on an Argyle uniform and helped the Eagles win the 2012 Class 3A state title, and before he became the team’s leading scorer in his senior year, Dickerson sat down with Argyle head coach John King the summer before his freshman year.

After an extended conversation, King told Dickerson he was going to one day surpass his older brother, Caden, who graduated from Argyle in 2009 before becoming a starting guard for Western Kentucky.

While King’s prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, Zach Dickerson followed in his brother’s footsteps and earned a Division I basketball college scholarship. Earlier this month, Dickerson signed his national letter of intent with Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard becomes the fourth player under King and the second player of the Dickerson household to sign to play basketball at the Division I level.

“While it’s very unusual for two brothers from a very small school to both go Division I in basketball, it really doesn’t surprise me because I told Zach back when he was a ninth-grader that he was going to do it,” King said.

King said Zach, having watched his older brother become a standout high school guard and then a solid college player, would absorb his older brother’s example and flourish.

After playing a supporting role in Argyle’s 2011 state title run, Zach Dickerson stepped up for the Eagles in his senior year.

Once Argyle graduated many of its top scorers, including former North Texas guard and future Arkansas Tech player Clarke Overlander, Dickerson was asked to help carry the team’s offensive burden and did so with relative ease.

He averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists while knocking down 34 percent of his 3-pointers last season.

“For me, over the last two or three years, he’s worn many different hats,” King said. “He’s adjusted well in whatever we asked him to do, and I feel very confident he’ll do the same when he enters the program at Eastern Illinois.”

Dickerson turned down offers from New Hampshire, Wofford and Division II champions Drury to join head coach Jay Spoonhour at Eastern Illinois. Last season, the Panthers reached the OVC Conference tournament for the first time since 2010 but were eliminated in the first round.

“I felt like I’d fit in best at that program,” Zach Dickerson said. “I feel like I can trust the coach, and the coach really wanted me to come. When they offered and when I visited, I knew it was the right place for me.”

While Dickerson was trying to carve out future plans of his own, he still kept tabs on his older brother’s exploits.

Throughout his time at Argyle, Dickerson and his family flew out of town the night after Argyle’s basketball games to go watch Caden’s games.

When Western Kentucky traveled to Denton to face North Texas, Dickerson sat with his friends and held up a large cardboard cut-out of his older brother’s face, cheering on his hunting partner from the green bucket seats in the Super Pit.

“Watching him, it really fueled me to work hard and follow my dreams and play at the next level like him,” Dickerson said.

The Dickerson brothers don’t come from a family of college athletes. Instead, coaching has been passed down through the family. Zach and Caden’s father coached them throughout their young basketball careers, a passion and hobby Larry Dickerson picked up from his father.

The father and the coach now has another son’s collegiate exploits to track, an unlikely outcome for two small-town athletes both playing at the highest collegiate level. The father of the two boys said his sons’ work ethic propeled them to their current stature.

“Just the by the pure odds, it’s a little unbelievable,” Larry Dickerson said. “But — I sound like a dad — the drive those two guys had, I never underestimated them. I just didn’t know if it would happen.”

Zach Dickerson said he wants to win an OVC championship and make a trip to the NCAA tournament, something Caden recently completed with Western Kentucky.

“It’d be a dream come true because I got to see him do it, and it’s something that many people don’t get to experience and something I’d love to do,” Zach Dickerson said.

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.