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When Big Men Are Really, Really Big Men

All of these guys are huge but Michael Ojo’s body fat is in the single digits.

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at North Carolina State
Jan 21, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried (left) and forward BeeJay Anya (21) react to a call during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at PNC Arena. The Demon Deacons won 93-88. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Before Duke students utilized cheat sheets to come up with cheers, back when they were cutting and clever, Florida State had a huge player named Nigel Dixon.

The good-natured Orlando product stood 6-10 and across his FSU career from the 2000 through 2002 seasons worked hard to drop his weight from a gargantuan 350 pounds to a modestly more svelte 340. A late bloomer as a basketball player, Dixon transferred to Western Kentucky and finished his career in 2004. Then it was on to a pro career, mostly in Greece and South Korea.

Dixon was nicknamed “Big Jelly”, presumably for the way his poundage jiggled. When he came to Durham, fans were waiting with a half-mocking, half- teasing salute. “Please don’t eat me!” they chanted at Dixon as he shot a free throw during the first half of a Duke win in 2000.

Those days came to mind when Pitt came calling last Saturday. Not only because the best the current students could come up with such inspired printed standards as “When an opposing player receives his fourth foul: Wave four fingers at the player and yell ‘Four’”.

The Panthers got good mileage out of big man Rozelle Nix, a junior who weighs in at 300 pounds. Nix played 38 minutes over Pitt’s first 21 games, not appearing at all in 11 contests. But, after sitting out last season with an injury, the juco transfer played a dozen minutes in a close loss at Chapel Hill last week and 16 more at Duke, taking some time usually filled by injured Ryan Luther.

In both instances Nix proved hard-working, surprisingly fleet and light on his feet. He was difficult to move when he established position, and possessed a modest repertoire of polished offensive moves.

This year Nix is joined in the ACC’s 300-pound club by NC State’s Beejay Anya (320) and FSU’s Michael Ojo (304). They are among the heaviest players to compete in the conference during this decade.

Anya wears jerseys that are so tight they show every bulge of flesh, as if someone is trying to make him take visible ownership of the weight problem he’s battled his entire career.

Heaviest Players in ACC Since 2010
(Five Years Include Redshirt Seasons)
Player, School Most Recent
Top Weight
Height Previous Progression
Beejay Anya, NCS 320 (2017) 6-9 290 (2016), 295 (2015), 275 (2014)
Reggie Johnson, UM 316 (2009) 6-10 284 (2013), 284 (2012), 303 (2011), 296 (2010)
Michael Ojo, FS 304 (2017) 7-1 294 (2016), 292 (2015), 290 (2014), 290 (2013)
Rozelle Nix, UP 300 (2017) 6-11 300 (2016)
KC Caudill, BC 300 (2015) 6-11 269 (2014), 275 (2013), 287 (2012)
Joel James, NC 280 (2016) 6-11 280 (2015), 280 (2014), 260 (2013)
Dejuan Coleman, SU 280 (2014) 6-9 258 (2017), 255 (2016), 255 (2015)
Sam Japhet-Mathias, WF 280 (2017) 6-11

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