Five years ago, brothers Dalen and Devon Dotson played on a travel youth basketball team in Chicago, formerly their hometown. Dalen was in seventh grade; Devon was in fourth.
Playing together again on the same team was something the Providence High teammates said they dreamed about.
“We were always hoping,” said Dalen, a senior at Providence. “But we weren’t quite sure since Devon is so much younger. So for him to play varsity as a ninth-grader is a big deal, but in eighth grade (when Devon started on an unbeaten junior varsity team at United Faith Christian Academy), I saw he had the talent, so I knew if he came to Providence he would play on varsity.”
Devon, a 5-foot-11 freshman, enrolled at Providence and has been a starter alongside his 5-foot-9 brother from the start. Both are natural point guards.
This season, Dalen, 18, averages 16 points to lead the team in scoring . Devon, 15, is second at 15.4 points. Providence (7-12) has won more games than any Panthers team since the 2009-10 season, when it won 18. In the previous three seasons , the Panthers won eight games combined.
Providence can tie that eight-win mark with a win Friday night at Berry.
“They are a lethal brother combination,” said nationally ranked Ardrey Kell boys’ coach Mike Craft. “(Devon) has taken the pressure off Dalen by handling the ball. He is comfortable at the point and has freed up Dalen to score more on the perimeter.
“They both can attack you in the open floor in transition and can finish or pull up and shoot the basketball. Devon is very crafty with the ball and does a good job of creating his own shot. Both young men are quality players.”
They are both very competitive, said Providence coach Scott Taylor.
“They’re special kids,” he said. “They’re talented basketball players, and being brothers has made them extra competitive. Devon has been fueled by trying to get to Dalen’s level, and as Devon has gotten better, Dalen has had to work. It’s a pretty special situation. It’s not often you get to play with your brother, especially given the age difference.”
During an interview Thursday morning, it didn’t take long for the brotherly spirit to come out.
They argued over who really keeps the bathroom dirty. Then Dalen said Devon has never beaten him in a game of one-on-one, except “that one time on a 7 1/2-foot goal in the snow.” Devon said Dalen has erased one or two losses from his mental Rolodex.
Later, Devon said Dalen has never beaten him in a basketball video game called “NBA 2K.”
Dalen rolled his eyes mightily and said, increduously: “Never? NEVER?”
They both laugh. The love is obvious.
“It really is a joy to play with him,” Dalen said. “It’s just fun to have someone who I’ve bonded with my whole life out here with me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses and we play off each other.”
Said Devon: “It’s a dream come true. I played with my brother back in the day on a younger team and now playing on the high school level and having an impact, wow, it’s amazing. It’s something I’ll never forget.”