Jaron Dickson considered playing professional basketball overseas, but the 2015 Central Valley High School grad closed that chapter of his life so he could turn his focus elsewhere.
“It was probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” he said. “I’m at peace without playing basketball anymore. I knew it would happen someday. I’m on to better and bigger things.”
Dickson, 23, works full-time as a Bruin consultant at Bellevue University.
He’s responsible for providing customer care for students, faculty and staff in the areas of technical service and support for applications, systems and hardware owned and/or managed by the university. He is also responsible for providing information on financial aid, registration and billing.
“Even though I love the game of basketball, and wanted to keep playing, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” he said. “I thought about my life and where I’d be in 10 years. I’ll make more money here than playing overseas.”
Dickson earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Nebraska college in July.
“I’ve grown a lot as a person since I’ve been out here,” he said. “My whole mindset changed. I was focused on myself and future. I’ve exceeded my expectations where I’m at in life right now. And that’s due to basketball. When I was younger, I just wanted to have fun. I wasted a lot of time.”
Dickson played two seasons of basketball at Bellevue University (2018-20).
The 6-foot-2 180-pounder made 41 starts at guard while appearing in 65 games.
The Bruins won back-to-back North Star Athletic Association titles.
“It was definitely a transition,” Dickson said. “In high school, I was focused on scoring a lot. Here, I focused on areas I could most benefit the team such as shooting, defense and setting up my teammates. It was an amazing experience. The coaching staff was amazing. I got to travel a lot. I met a lot of good people. I found a way to fit in.”
Dickson averaged 5.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists during his final season with the Bruins, who compiled a 24-8 overall record and finished in first place in the North Star Athletic Association conference (13-1) for the second year in a row.
He ranked second on the team in assists (97) and fourth in steals (29).
He scored in double figures six times on the year.
He dished out eight or more assists on five occasions.
He totaled a season-high 12 points in a 79-65 victory against Calumet St. Joseph.
Dickson was named NSSA Player of the Week on Dec. 30 after collecting 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in a win over the College of Ozarks.
He shot just 35.7 percent from the field, 32.5 percent from 3-point range and 48.9 percent from the free-throw line on the season.
Dickson played in all 33 of Bellevue’s games in 2018-19.
He started 30 times.
Dickson averaged 8.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
He shot 46.9 percent from the floor, 43.3 percent from 3-point range and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line.
He led the team in 3-point shooting and was third in 3-point field goals made (46).
He also ranked third in both assists (73) and steals (29).
He scored in double figures 14 times.
Dickson tallied a season-high 19 points in a road win over Viterbo.
“I had a pretty good junior season,” he said. “I expected to do better senior year but I was dealing with some nagging injuries. We also had a new coach and new players. I still had plenty of good games. I contributed a lot to our success.”
Dickson spent two seasons at Modesto Junior College prior to earning a scholarship to Bellevue.
He earned first-team Big-8 conference honors as a sophomore.
Dickson averaged 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game for the 2017-18 Pirates, who went 20-9, finished second in conference play (13-3) and advanced to the playoffs for the first time in six years.
He redshirted at Cal State Monterey Bay freshman year.
Dickson was recognized as Central Valley High School’s Male Golden Hawk Award Winner senior year.
He made history by becoming the first boys basketball player from CV to receive the highest honor in conference play.
A four-year starter with the Hawks, Dickson was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player.
He averaged 23.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game during his final season at Central Valley.
The Hawks compiled a 22-4 overall record, placed first in the WAC standings (12-0) for the first-time ever and secured their second consecutive playoff berth.
Dickson competed in pair of all-star games.
He earned MVP honors while lifting the Red All-Stars to a 95-88 win over the Blue squad during the 20th Annual Six County All-Star Classic at Enochs High School. He totaled 16 points and buried four treys in the final period.
Dickson had seven points during the American team’s 54-51 win in the Central Valley Senior Showcase.
He tallied a school-record 43 points and nine treys in an 84-81 victory against Tracy in overtime his junior year.
Dickson had a cumulative GPA of 3.3 in high school.
Darryl Dickson, Jaron’s father and former head coach of Central Valley’s boys basketball program, introduced him to the sport.
“He helped me get to where I’m at today,” Jaron said. “He made me believe in myself.”
Jaron learned how to dribble a basketball at the age of two.
“I started playing at the YMCA when I was four years old,” he said. “They had to move me up a couple age groups because some of the parents were complaining. I was a little more advanced than the other kids. I knew how to play basketball.”
“It’s definitely been an adjustment not having basketball in my life,” Dickson added. “I miss competing at a high level and competing for something meaningful. As of right now, I don’t have much interest in coaching. But I could change my mind down the road.”
Dickson lives and works in Omaha, where the cost of living is lower compared to California.
“For the longest time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “If I continue to stay focused, I’ll reach the goals I set for myself. My short-term goal is to work and save as much money as I can and become financially literate. My long-terms goals are to be able to buy real estate and invest in stocks, provide for my family one day and be able to live extremely comfortably. I definitely want to come back to California sooner than later.”