Providence Day head basketball coach Brian Field didn’t pull any praise when he explained what junior point guard Devon Dotson means to the team. Some coaches would’ve said cliché’s about “the next man up mentality.” Others may have said they would simply find another way to win.
But for the Chargers, Field said Dotson is too vital to lose.
“If you take a top 50 player off any team, it will have a major effect on them,” Field said with a chuckle. “Without him, we lose our go-to guy whose motor is always going 100 miles per hour. “
Throughout the shifty guard’s life, his motor has always chugged forward— both on and off the court. Before transferring to Providence Day and winning a state championship last season, Dotson and his family moved from Chicago to Charlotte when Dotson was in the sixth grade. Growing up in the Windy City bred Dotson into the basketball player he is today— one that has coaches at North Carolina, Southern California and Villanova salivating over him with scholarship offers. The blacktop playground primed Dotson to easily average 16.6 points and 4.6 assists last season.
When he stepped foot on Providence Day’s campus he was ready to contribute.
“Just going into Chicago and playing the other guards got me better,” Dotson said. “They are scrappy and they play hard. It was really competitive.”
Dotson said his family’s situation in Chicago wasn’t the best, but it was one that didn’t evoke him to succumb to the constant headlines of shootings and crime that constantly plague the Illinoisan city. He said his family decided to move to Charlotte to provide more opportunities for everyone involved. So far, it hasn’t disappointed. Though Providence Day— a prestigious private school renowned for its education and campus— is different from Dotson’s Chicago school, he said the transition has been seamless. Now in his second year at Providence Day and placed in a position of leadership, Dotson said he wants to keep adjusting to his new surroundings while fostering his love of basketball— something that has remained constant in his nomadic life.
“I think I’ve worked at it cautiously, almost every day, perfecting my craft— a lot of shots up, a lot of ball handling, a lot of in game situations— and I’ve gotten stronger over the years and I’m starting to evolve into the next level type of player,” Dotson said. “Just being a leader and just running the offense and helping my teammates out the best way I can.”
After the confetti was swept away last year, Dotson inherited a team that graduated a significant portion of senior talent and leadership. But instead of coasting through the regular season, Field inked a competitive schedule including national powerhouse Hamilton Heights of Tennessee. In state, the Chargers will also play tough opponents in Rocky River, JM Robinson and Greensboro Day. For Providence Day to be competitive, Field says Dotson has to be their lightning rod.
But for Dotson, that is a challenge he will happily accept.
“I think it will be great year,” Dotson said. “A lot of people our counting us out, but with our competitiveness and being able to run up and down the floor, I think we’ll be fine. My role is to lead and be that second couch on the floor and put the guys in their spots and orchestrate the offense. And when the team needs a bucket, I can go get it and be that spark.”
Field said Dotson plays the game “emotionless,” as if he doesn’t care if he scores a sensational bucket or commits a careless turnover and moves on to the next play. But even though he is only junior, Dotson said he is approaching this season with the mentality of senior. He said there is no reason why his team can’t see success— and he’s going to do everything he can to make it happen.
“Whenever I step on the court, if I shortchange myself for one game, that can have a big effect on the season,” Dotson said. “So when I play every game this season, I’ll play it like it is my last.”