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Jazz: For Damyean Dotson, an NBA future means confronting the past

Published June 17, 2017 3:24 pm

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Damyean Dotson would like to talk about how he can be an NBA player. He'd like to talk about his dynamic 3-point shooting that made him a star at Houston last season. He'd like to talk about the work he's put into his defense, his ability to drive on offense and his ball-handling.

But inevitably, teams and media are going to be chasing his past: What happened that sent him out the door from Oregon, his first school?

Dotson, a 6-foot-5 wing, was among three Ducks accused, but never charged or convicted, of forcible rape in 2014. The incident led to his transfer to his home city of Houston, as well as questions that will follow him the rest of his life.



"All the teams have asked me, and I've been pretty genuine in how I answer, in just telling the truth," Dotson said. "I knew it was going to come back. It's not a challenge. It's just me telling the truth and being honest."

Dotson has maintained his innocence since the alleged incident, saying he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He and his former teammates who were expelled sued the University of Oregon in 2016, claiming they were unfairly disciplined for a crime they were never charged for; the suit was dismissed last fall.

Dotson has had a handful of NBA workouts this spring after averaging 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for Houston as a senior. Utah Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin said the organization likely wouldn't have invited him for a workout if they hadn't done their research into the alleged assault and determined he wasn't liable.

That doesn't mean the Jazz and other NBA teams won't push prospects like Dotson on their past to see how they react.

"Naturally you want truth, and you want to see how much they've learned from it or not," Perrin said. "You want to see how humble they are in addressing the situation."

Dotson said he has learned lessons from what happened.

"I learned not to be at the wrong place and wrong time, and just make better decisions," he said. "It happened three years ago, but I'm still learning from it today."

Williams-Goss, Hicks back on same floor

In some ways, the championship game that Gonzaga and North Carolina played in April feels like ages ago, Nigel Williams-Goss said.

So he doesn't exactly hold it against Isaiah Hicks, one of his fellow workout prospects on Saturday afternoon, that Hicks' UNC squad beat his Bulldogs.

"We were in the McDonald's All-American Game together, so I know Isaiah pretty well," Williams-Goss said. "When I look back on the Final Four, I don't have any sad memories. Obviously sucks that we lost, but it was just an incredible experience."

Williams-Goss and Hicks have too much on their respective plates to dabble in the past. Both said they haven't been doing too much reflecting on March Madness as they both attempt to prove they can play in the NBA.

What they have in common is team success: Hicks' Tar Heels went to back-to-back NCAA championship games, winning this past year. Goss led a Gonzaga team that only lost two games all season to this year's final game of the season.

Perrin said the Jazz look closely at players who were on successful teams.

"What you look at is how well they interact with their fellow teammates," Perrin said. "How much they have made their team better being part of a team, being part of a puzzle to take their team to a championship like [Hicks] has."

Final workout?

With less than a week to go before the draft, the Utah Jazz have brought in 76 players for workouts. While Perrin didn't want to fully commit to being finished with pre-draft sessions, he said it's likely it.

The Saturday workout, Perrin said, was a particularly competitive one.

"I had a couple guys come up to me, I'm talking about our sports staff, and said it was a really good workout," he said. "Guys fought through the fatigue factor. Some guys shot better than other guys, naturally, but it was a good workout."

The focus now shifts from the gym to the draft room, where Perrin said the Jazz will look at both full mock draft models and tiered draft models to make decisions about what they might do on Thursday.

"Lot of debates, lot of talking, lot of opinions, we'll go back and forth a little bit," he said. "A lot of talk of who we think they may be like, how they can help our team."

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Saturday's Jazz workout participants

• Nigel Williams-Goss, 6-3 guard, Gonzaga

• Jordan Price, 6-5 guard, LaSalle

• Damyean Dotson, 6-5 wing, Houston

• Antonius Cleveland, 6-6 wing, Southeast Missouri State

• Isaiah Hicks, 6-8 forward, North Carolina

• Johnathan Motley, 6-9 forward, Baylor

 

 

 

 

 

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