His story of confession, redemption – on and off the court
By Kelley M. Arnold
Director of News and Public Information
Andrew Dikas dunks over two Brewton-Parker students during the October 31, 2010 pep rally to start the Barons Basketball season. Andrew won the slam dunk contest. (Photo by Raymond Minks/BPC)
MOUNT VERNON—Senior Guard Andrew Dikas’ story is one of aspiration meets inspiration.
Andrew entered Brewton-Parker College two years ago with a scholarship to play basketball on Coach John D. Jones’ varsity team. A 6’5”, 210 lb., transfer from Voorhees College, Andrew is unquestionably talented in the game and an impressive force on the team. He serves as one of the three senior captains. His goal is to be a professional ball player and shy is not in his vocabulary.
These last two years at Brewton-Parker have been a time of learning and mentorship by Jones and Andrew’s girlfriend Porshia Cleveland, a redshirted freshman guard on the Lady Barons Basketball team. At 21, he accepted Christ as his personal savior through this mentorship and during an experience at Athletic Director Sheila Simmons’ church one Sunday at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.
“Since being saved, I’m playing for Christ’s glory and not my own,” says Andrew. “He gives you the talent and you’ve got to use that. He would never want you to be complacent, be satisfied. You need to keep working everyday on something. That’s what I try to do.”
This is a big change from his attitude when he first arrived, says Coach Jones.
“When Andrew came to us, you could see he had a lot of great qualities and a lot of great potential but we really had to work on him that first year,” says Coach Jones. “He was too focused on his personal goals at the expense of his team but in time he learned that the best way to accomplish his personal goals was to pursue team success.”
Coach John D. Jones talks to Senior Guard Andrew Dikas during a 2010-2011 season game. (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold/BPC)
“He popped into my office one day asked if he could talk. We already had a pretty close relationship because he comes in a lot. By that time he had already heard me share the gospel with the team and encourage players to make a decision for Christ. So that day he came in he got right to the point.”
Andrew says, “I asked him ‘How do I know if I’m going to Heaven?’, and if I am saved. We had a deep conversation, and I gave my life over to Christ.”
Andrew began attending church in the area, and for the first time in his life, he started listening to the message.
“Growing up, mom made us go to church. It was just something we knew we had to do. We’d go to Bible Study and youth group but I didn’t take it seriously. I would just sit in there and wait for it to be over,” he says.
“Then these past couple of weeks I’ve been attending a couple churches, including Coach Simmons’ church, and I just feel it sometimes,” he says, referring to the Holy Spirit. “I’ve broken down and cried in (her church). It’s happened twice, and I know it’s because I’m being broken down and being built back up.”
Andrew says you can also tell it in the way he’s playing.
“Things are starting to seem a little easier, as far as the reason why I’m playing. I want to help my team win and serve my teammates,” he says. “I’m trying to make the right steps. I’m not saying that I’m perfect, but I know that he will forgive me, and I know it in my heart – and that’s the most important thing.”
Life has not been easy for Andrew, at least not under the surface. A native of Hollywood, Fla., he comes from the middle of a family of five: two older brothers, and a younger sister and brother. His oldest brother graduated from Yale and is preparing for law school. His younger brother is a graduate of University of Florida, where his sister also attends.
Andrew Dikas (Photo by Kelley M. Arnold/BPC)
“Education is what my father believes in,” said Andrew. “It wasn’t until recently did he see how passionate I was about basketball that he really started believing in what I’m trying to achieve, what I want to become. He supports me now.”
Andrew also talks about his mom. In 2007, he lost his mother to colon cancer a year after she was diagnosed.
“She was the probably the backbone of our faith, of our family,” said Andrew. “Mom was a huge Christian, very, very dedicated to her faith. She was in her Bible every day. She really kept my family in church and prayed with us every single night.
“When mom passed, I thought how could that happen to us? She’s mom. It hurt for a long, long time. I had never seen my father cry. I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want to play basketball. We didn’t care about going to church. It wasn’t until Brewton-Parker did I start going back to church. My girlfriend, Porshia, also showed me through her testimony – her strength in God – that life doesn’t have to be that way no matter how bad things seem to be. She keeps me grounded.”
Porshia shares they chose to wear promise rings, to signify keeping Christ first – not only in their lives but in their relationship.
Andrew’s story is one that God’s orchestrating, lining up, like all of our stories. He’s excited to share it – both on and off the court.
“My drive to play is that I feel like there’s something inside of me telling me that I haven’t reached my full potential yet. I’m chasing my own personal greatness and at the same time, I want to have some influence on the people at Brewton-Parker, to leave some legacy. I don’t think I’m the best player that I can be. I have to work at it every day.”