MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sometimes being a product of your environment is a good thing, especially when you’re surrounded by leaders like local basketball Phil Dotson III.
The Collierville high point guard comes from a long line of successful men.
His grandfather was one of the first African Americans to graduate from Ole Miss.
His father, now a director in the Shelby County School System,
and his late godfather, NBA star, Lorenzen Wright was a big influence on Dotson becoming the player he is today.
“Of course him being a professional athlete and loving basketball, his godson Phillip just ended up gravitating to him and loving basketball just the way that he did,” said his father Phil.
Meeting in college Phil's father and Wright became best friends and fraternity brothers, from there the relationship between one of Memphis's favorite basketball players and a future high school stand-out blossomed.
“I was around basketball a lot when I was a kid and I just feel like he was a good role model for me as well," said Phillip.
"They would play NBA2k together and Phillip would play with his character on the game," his father explained.
"Just out of curiosity when you would play on the game was it one of those I gotta beat you things?" I asked.
“Oh yeah, oh yeah, it had to be we were both competitive, I had to win, I had to win no matter what,” Phil said.
That competitive spirit has pushed Phil to be a 4.0 student, and even answer the call when head coach Cedric Henderson challenged him to adjust from being just a shooter to a combo guard in his senior year. \
“Sometimes kids get a little bit frustrated when they’ve been doing something and then say, oh senior year I’ve got to do something new but that’s what good ballplayers are able to do, adjust so he’s done a great job doing that,” said Henderson.
Phil's head coach added although it’s Dotson’s first year with the team, he leads by example and he’s respected by his teammates because of it.
“They see him trying, they see him working, it’s not like he comes and is like I’m going to take a day off, no. He’s the first guy to practice and the first guy to leave, I mean the last guy to leave, he’s that type of ballplayer,” Henderson explained.
“I just have that passion for the game because I want to win, I hate losing, I just have to show that I want to win on the court,” said Phil.
The dragons are 10-3 on the season right now, in part because of Phil's leadership mentality, traits that were passed down to him, that he now works to pass down to his younger brother, Bryce.
“I try to be that good role model for him you know just talk to him about that mental part of the game. Things are not going to go your way every single time you just have to know that you put enough work in to overcome any problem that you have on the floor,” Phil explained.