The four-star shooting guard led his team to a Class 3A state title during his junior season and averaged 16 points and six rebounds along the way.
The six-foot-four, 194-pound Seattle, Wash.-native put in countless hours over the summer in the weight room and on the basketball court to make sure that he was in the best shape of his life as Rainier Beach defended their title. However, there was something that just wasn't right when Dotson took the court in December.
“Before this season started, I went to the doctor because my knee had been hurting for about a year,” Dotson said. “He told me that my knee cap was basically broken. I don’t know how it happened, but it’s been bothering me for a while.”
Dotson tried to play through the pain, but the thought of making things worse and jeopardizing his future at LSU and beyond forced him to make one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make.
“I tried to play on it for a while and I played in four games this year basically on one leg,” he said. “The crazy part is I still averaged about 20 points a game. But after a while I just couldn’t play with the pain anymore, so we decided to have the surgery.”
Rainier Beach has certainly missed Dotson as the Vikings are 13-7 on the year, but are undefeated in eight conference games.
Once he decided that his high school career had ended, Dotson opted to have his surgery in Baton Rouge. He and his family arrived in the Capitol City last Thursday, four days before his scheduled procedure.
The purpose of making it in early was two-fold as Dotson had never been to a game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and his parents had never been to South Louisiana.
“The game last Saturday was really good,” Dotson said of the Tigers’ win over Ole Miss. “LSU showed why they are a great team. They were down for a while in the second half. But they kept their composure and came back to win.
“We’re having a good time, doing a lot of eating. We also went down to New Orleans for a little bit and my parents are really enjoying it. They want to get out of here before they gain too much weight,” he added with a laugh.
Taking in the sites around South Louisiana was all made possible with a successful surgery that took place on Monday and that went even better than expected according to Dotson.
“I was actually able to go home right after the surgery, so it went well,” Dotson said. “They scoped my knee. The doctor said a piece of my patella tendon broke off and that’s what was irritating me. So they took that out and anchored the tendon down so it wouldn’t bother me anymore.”
Behind every dark cloud there is always a silver lining and for Dotson it was the opportunity to get more familiar with his future teammates and coaches.
“Hanging out with the players was good,” said Dotson, who made an official visit to LSU in September without his parents. “I just can’t wait to get here. I met Jalen Courtney from Mississippi too. I could tell he was having a good time.
“I talked with Coach Johnson for a while too,” he continued. “He was telling me I’m going to have some big shoes to fill next year because I’m going to be playing the same spot as Marcus Thornton.”
The Tigers made it back to campus early Thursday morning following their dramatic win at Arkansas and that will give Dotson some more time to bond with his LSU family before heading back to Seattle on Sunday.
Once he makes it back to his home state of Washington he will start working on his future. And for those LSU fans who may be worried, Dotson doesn’t plan on letting anything stop him from being ready to play for his new family next season.
“I’m going to be on crutches for about three weeks,” Dotson said. “After that I’ll go to rehab, and the doctor said I could be 100 percent by June. I’ll be back in Baton Rouge on June 11 or 12 to start summer school. I’m definitely going to be ready when the season starts next year.”