Gerry Wixted’s basketball resume is dotted with success stories.
The senior took part in a pair of Centennial Conference championships with the Dickinson College Red Devils.
He is the career scoring leader at Dickinson.
He was named the D3hoops.com Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year.
Basketball has been Wixted’s focus for the past 13 years, but come May, that focus will change.
The 6-foot-8 senior forward, who graduates in May with a degree in history, locked down a job on March 30 with The Woodberry Forest School, a private boarding school for boys, in Woodberry Forest, Virginia. Now, teaching becomes his passion, with coaching possibly mixed in.
The big question many have for Wixted is whether or not professional basketball is still a possibility, and the answer as of now is maybe. Since his junior season ended, Wixted said he has been contacted by more than a few companies, teams, and agents who have been interested in bringing his talent overseas to play professionally.
“Our point guard from last season, Adam Honig, is completing his first year in Israel and there is a good chance Gerry would have garnered an even better opportunity,” Dickinson head basketball coach Alan Seretti said. “Typically, the chance to play abroad for someone like Gerry is, at the least, a wonderful life experience, and at best, a chance to earn some money for an 8-10 year run.”
How much money? According to sportsagentblog.com a player signing overseas can easily make $65,000 a year. A player with a higher talent level can make as much as $100,000 year, and in Europe that money is typically tax free. And if taxes do apply, the club will pay those taxes to the country for you.
Luxuries like housing and cars are also provided for the players who have decided to take their career overseas.
Wixted, however, decided that he was ready for a new challenge.
“Playing basketball for money sounds great, but I liked the idea of ending my career on my own terms, surrounded by a team I love,” Wixted said.
“I was offered the teaching position right after our last game, so I took and ran with it.
“The decision was tough because I love the game so much, but teaching has been a career I’ve been interested in pursuing for some time now, and I got a great opportunity, so I had to take it.”
Making the trip overseas and being so far away from family and friends plays a part in the decision for Wixted, who calls himself a homebody. When he made the decision to prepare for the college life by attending Lawrenceville Prep out of high school before heading to Dickinson College, he was glad he played basketball there first. Transitioning from high school basketball to college is a challenge in itself, especially when you realize everyone at the new level is bigger, faster, stronger and more skilled than those you had previously competed with.
“Playing at Lawrenceville prep definitely helped me — especially academically,” Wixted said. “It helped me get used to being away from my family for that year, but it was also only a half an hour away from my family. I got a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger when it came to basketball, but the academic portion also helped me get ready for college.”
Moving on also comes with some bittersweet moments. Leaving behind teammates, a coaching staff and friends at Dickinson will be hard, especially after working for so long and so often with the team. He also leaves behind a legacy with the school and great memories of the people he worked with.
“Gerry was wonderful to work with during his time in Carlisle,” Seretti said. “Yes, he is supremely talented, but more than that, Gerry really respects the way the game is played and always did his best to play up to that standard. He’s thoughtful, humble, hardworking, competitive, and has always put team goals ahead of his own.”
Wixted also learned the art of leadership throughout his senior season at Dickinson. This is something he can take with him when he begins his new life in teaching.
“I’ve learned how to set expectations for other people and help them reach those goals, for sure. It was something that I definitely worked on, even for myself in the last three years,” Wixted said. “I help set expectations for other people — reasonable ones — and then I help them try to reach those goals along the way and point them in the right direction. When they get there, it’s a cool thing to see.”
With everyone rooting for Wixted to succeed in what he does next, he’s ready to take on the challenge of starting something new, but not entirely away from the sport he grew up with.
“I’m going down to work in Virginia,” he said. “It’ll be different — I’m a New Jersey guy, a Northeast guy. It’ll be a different world down there, but I really look forward to the opportunity. I’ve learned so much from a lot of the people I’ve been lucky enough to encounter over the years.
“I’ve had a great career with loads of happy memories, and I’m ready to move onto the next phase of my life.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to have great coaching throughout my entire career, so I figured I would have a lot to offer within the coaching realm after I hang up the shoes.”