Athlete of the Week: Stonewall’s Dotson taking his game to the next level

QUICKSBURG – Nick Dotson wanted to improve his athleticism.

QUICKSBURG – Nick Dotson wanted to improve his athleticism.

The Stonewall Jackson junior achieved his goal and the Generals’ boys basketball team is reaping the benefits this season.

Dotson said he began training at Next Level Athletic Development in Harrisonburg. He’s worked with a personal trainer, and the results have been obvious during basketball season.

“Just being able to take my athleticism to another notch definitely helped me with what I could do,” Dotson said. “It helped me on defense. I can guard quicker guys, stronger guys. I can jump higher. It helped me be faster and get by guys. Just being better athletically allowed me to do a bunch of other stuff that before I might not have been capable of doing.”

Dotson, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Dec. 12-18, is off to a strong start for the Generals this season. Last week, he scored 18 points in a 47-37 win over Rappahannock County. He followed that up with a 16-point performance in a 45-44 win over Shenandoah County rival Central.

Dotson had eight points in the fourth period to give the Generals a real lift against Central.

“It was a tight game and (Stonewall Jackson head) coach (Mike Lenox) gave me confidence,” Dotson said. “He said if it’s there take it. And I think I had a few openings and created a few shots, and took ’em without hesitation. I think that was the big key – just having confidence. And being ready to step in that spot in a big moment and make the shots that needed to be made.”

Dotson was 6-for-13 from the field in the win against Central, and said he felt confident with the ball in his hands.

“Shooting streaks are all about confidence, and I had that extra confidence going,” Dotson said. “It was definitely easier making shots. I just felt like every time the ball went in my hand I was going to make the shot. That definitely helps, being out there on the court and knowing that you’re capable and confident in your abilities.”

The 6-foot guard is very versatile and can play inside or outside. He’s been one of Stonewall Jackson’s best rebounders throughout the season as well.

“He’s a vital aspect for our team,” Lenox said. “He can play down low. He can play wing. He can drive. He can shoot. I think that’s a credit to his hard work this summer. His work ethic is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. He’s a student of the game. He wants to get better. He wants to learn from his mistakes.”

Dotson said one of the things that’s really helped his game is playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball.

He said he plays for Strong Quality Basketball Association and for Team Focus. He said he plays with Central’s Luke Estep and a couple of the Page County players.

“I think that’s definitely helped me,” Dotson said of playing AAU. “Not just playing around here but playing against other guys. And once in a while you get completely crushed by some guys that are really good, and you learn from it. And you also get the experience of going against guys who are maybe just a little bit better. You get different looks of guys that play differently.”

Dotson said he also went to more open gyms and went to a few camps last summer, which also helped him improve his game.

He also plays golf and baseball for the Generals and said he loves all three sports. He said he loves the pace of basketball.

“I like how it’s a fast-paced game,” Dotson said. “There’s nothing that you really get bored doing, and it’s not usually too boring to watch because there’s always something happening. And the best part is if you make a mistake or something there’s an immediate chance to make it up. Your impact can be felt in different ways. There’s always something you can do to make your team better and help your team to have more success.”

The Generals have been having success this season. Stonewall Jackson is off to a 4-3 start, and Dotson said he’s very happy with how the team is doing.

He said his main goal is for the team to win as many games as they can and make a run in the postseason.

Dotson said he wants to do whatever he can to help the team.

“For me I just want to be the best player I can be,” Dotson said. “… I just want to do everything I can to help out team, and help us get better and help us win and advance and go deep into the playoffs.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com.