Men's Basketball

New Cougar finds a second chance in Houston

Damyean Dotson WEB

Junior guard Damyean Dotson is excited to get back on the court, following sitting a year out of college basketball while attending Houston community college. | Bryce Dodds/The Cougar

New Houston basketball signee Damyean Dotson is getting a second chance, and he’s eager to prove his worth.

After playing two years at the University of Oregon, Dotson was dismissed from the program last spring because of an alleged sexual assault. No charges were filed because of lack of evidence. He hasn’t played since.

Dotson returned to Houston upon his dissmisal and began taking classes at Houston Community College.

“I always believed I would get a second chance,” Dotson said. “I never gave up. Throughout the entire time, I continued to work out so I wouldn’t get out of shape. I never let up.”

Dotson worked with NBA veteran John Lucas, who contacted head coach Kelvin Sampson.

Sampson had never seen Dotson play, but was aware of the incident.

“When we got word that Damyean was interested in coming to (UH), it was about this time last year,” Sampson said. “John (Lucas) asked us if we’d be interested and I said ‘not right now’. I just didn’t think the timing was good for both parties.”

Sampson sat on it while extensive research and background checks took place.

“I couldn’t say ‘Oh, he’s a good player — let’s sign him’,” Sampson said. “We needed to find out what happened.”

So, he went to the Internet, and he read the reports, but he needed to find out more.

“We had to figure out if this was a pattern,” Sampson said. “We can all make a mistake. What we had to decide was if this young man was worthy of a second chance. In all the research we did, all the communication we’ve had, it came back a resounding ‘absolutely’. ”

After sitting down with Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Hunter Yurachek, Sampson met with President Renu Khator.

“I said ‘President Khator, I’ve thought long and hard about this’, and I gave her all this information,” Sampson said. “I said, ‘You’re the president of this university, I’m just the basketball coach. I would recommend we give this young man a chance’.”

For Sampson, Dotson has proved to be a quality young man.

“I couldn’t ask for a kid who’s a better teammate and someone I enjoy working with,” Sampson said. “He has above a 3.0 GPA, he goes to every class, meets every tutoring assignment and treats everyone with respect. But more importantly, his teammates love him. We’re not going to bring in someone that’s contrary to our culture.”

Assistant coach Alvin Brooks said the team has added a great asset.

“He brings talent, obviously, but also two years of experience having played in the Pac-12,” Brooks said. “We needed that experience and that savvy that a veteran brings. He brings that to the table.”

The basketball team traveled to China this past August — Dotson’s first competitive game in over a year. He scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his debut.

“For a guy that hadn’t played in 17 months, I was really impressed,” Brooks said. “It’s a whole new system that he’s playing in—a new system and a new coach, new teammates. He did a pretty good job of just allowing the game to come to him and fitting in well and giving us what we needed.”

For Dotson, however, he has yet to make a statement.

“That was a good start, but I feel like I still haven’t played in a real game because I haven’t played in a collegiate game yet,” Dotson said. “Once I get an official collegiate game with a jersey and a referee…back in the college atmosphere, then I’ll feel like I’m back.”

He said he’s anxious to get back on the court just to see how different the game would be, because he has been out for such a long period of time.

“I just want to see how it comes to me,” Dotson said.

Feeling blessed for his second chance opportunity, Dotson is looking ahead and ready to learn from his new coach.

“He has been at the highest level, so I’m just listening to him right now, ” Dotson said. “I just plan on playing my hardest and hope everything works out.”

Eager to add a spark to this rebuilding team, Dotson isn’t looking to simply fit in.

“I feel like I can bring leadership, that other edge of scoring and just being the toughest person on the team,” Dotson said. “I come from a winning background, and I like to win, so whatever it takes to win.”

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1 Comment

  • What an excellent story. I’m impressed that Coach Sampson, when informed of Dotson’s situation and availability, neither jumped to sign him, nor summarily dismissed the idea. Rather, he took the time (and effort) to research the facts and the person before going to the President Khator with the recommendation to offer the guy a second chance. Looking forward to watching this team develop.

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