An Enterprise graduate who was cut twice from his high school basketball team, will now live out his dream of playing in college at College of the Siskiyous.
The intense workout is almost over for Will Dobson as he takes a moment to catch his breath. The air at the YMCA is calm and cool because three large fans are circulating the air, but Dobson’s legs are throbbing and pulsing.
Dobson, who graduated from Enterprise High School in Redding in 2018, will be playing basketball at College of the Siskiyous next spring. He is pushing himself so hard, the blue veins in his calves are visible.
He just got done running full sprints from the full court line to half court line while his trainer Brian Stupek held him back with firm bands.
After the conditioning drill is over, Dobson takes a quick break before he is back on the court to play full speed one-on-one against the 6-foot-2 Foothill incoming senior and guard/forward Nick Dore.
The shooting pains that run up his ankles, calves, knees and thighs are sharp, but they pale in comparison to the disappointment he suffered early in his high school career.
As a freshman and sophomore, Dobson didn’t make the team at Enterprise. The next best thing Dobson could do to keep playing was joining the recreational league in Redding.
“I didn’t give up because that’s just how I was raised,” Dobson said. “If you want something badly enough my parents taught me to just work for it and never give in. If you fail, you know the sun is going to rise sooner or later.”
Finally in his junior year, Dobson tried out and made the varsity team. During his senior campaign in 2018, Dobson was a sharpshooting, 3-point specialist. He averaged 8.3 points per game and scored 20 points three times against Gilroy, North Salinas and Red Bluff.
After not being accepted to play the lowest level of high school basketball, Dobson was invited to the 2018 North State All-Star game.
“I love this game so much because there’s no limit on where you can improve,” Dobson said. “You can always get better and always work on little stuff.”
Despite the setbacks, Dobson has encountered throughout his athletic career, the Redding native plays with confidence no matter who is on the court. It could be the energetic 28-year-old future Simpson athlete James Williams or the NBA’s LeBron James. He doesn’t get intimidated.
Despite proving he could compete in high school, Dobson was cut again in the summer of 2018 by the men’s basketball team at Shasta College.
The Redding native refused to bow his head.
“My confidence just comes from just getting cut over and over again,” Dobson said. “So I just come to the YMCA and I just shoot here for hours and hours on end on long, summer days.”
With help from Stupek and a new high-protein low carb diet, Dobson was able to lose 10 pounds and gain muscle. Dobson also is working with Stupek to improve ball handling, shooting, defense, footwork and conditioning.
“The thing that separates Will from a bunch of other athletes that I’ve worked with in the area is that no one loves the game of basketball as much as he does,” Stupek said. “Will could be exhausted, but as soon as he sees the ball, he’s the first one at the court.”
Dobson would eventually get the opportunity he dreamed of when he traveled to Weed to play pick up games at College of the Siskiyous. As soon as the games started, Dobson started to immediately hit shots from a 3-point range. Right corner, left corner, left wing, right wing, top of the key – anything he shot went swishing through the net.
Playing on the court was Eagles head coach Kyle Heath who became a witness to the walking bucket that entered his gym. Dobson found a home.
“(Dobson) had come up with a friend and I saw immediately he could shoot it,” Heath said. “It’s a little different when you’re playing against old 40-year-old guys like me versus 18-year olds but I had remembered him coming up for some games as well. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 we couldn’t get him playing with our whole roster, but the thing is if you can shoot, then you will find a spot on someone’s team.”
That team is College of the Siskiyous, where Dobson will try to prove the critics wrong.