Feature photo courtesy of Andrique Fleurimond.
Jakigh Dottin doesn’t know exactly where he wants to go to school after he graduates from high school next year, but he does know he has to stay relatively close to his Cambridge, Massachusetts home.
At least that’s what his mother, Artishia, wants him to do, and in his mind her opinion matters quite a bit.
“She’s a part of this decision that I’m making in the next couple years,” he said. “I really think that I’ll end up staying home, staying local.”
Dottin, a 6-foot-2 junior, has leaned on his mother’s support on and off the court for years, and she’s the one he cites as his biggest motivator.
“My mother, she’s my number one, because that’s the person I come home to all the time,” he said. “There are just those nights where everything seems like [it’s] going wrong, nothing can go right, and she’s the one to say, ‘Son, keep your head up…just get out there and play.’”
Dottin has not gotten any college offers yet, but says he has received letters and phone calls from schools that are interested in him. He currently plays for two teams: the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, his AAU team, and ‘Cambridge, Rindge, and Latin,’ his high school team. He said he is primarily a point guard for Cambridge, but that he plays both point and shooting guard for BABC. There is one aspect of his game that he brings to both teams, however.
“I see myself as a leader and everybody follows my lead,” he said. “If I’m out there, I’m getting on the floor for loose balls, I’m getting steals on the defensive end, I’m grabbing rebounds, [and] my team’s going to follow suit.” He compared his play to that of Mateen Cleaves, a former guard for Michigan State who went on to play for several years in the NBA. “He was about my size, he was big and bulky and he had muscles,” Dottin said of Cleaves. “He was a leader, he was tough [and] he was gritty. So that’s who I see myself as.”
With that grit, Dottin helped Cambridge make the postseason both his freshman and sophomore years. This year, he hopes to get his team back in the same position and ultimately lead them to a championship.
Just as she has in the past, Artishia will likely be right alongside Dottin, cheering him on. “She’s at every one of my games,” he said. “She’s there front and center, and I see her and I hear her. There can be 2,000 people in there and I always hear my mother’s voice.”
“I look at her at least two or three times I play a game [and] she gives me a thumbs up [or] shakes her head” he continued. “I love that she’s there. I love her support. [She] gives me more confidence to play better.”
Another voice Dottin always hears at games belongs to his uncle, Lance, who is also his high school coach. Lance, Artishia’s younger brother, has been at the helm for Cambridge for about two decades, and was one of the main reasons Dottin chose the high school he did.
“He sets you up for success,” Dottin said of his uncle. “He teaches everything and he teaches it well. I’ve never seen anybody but my uncle break down a game [so much]. You’ll never find any time when he’s baffled or confused. He knows everything.”
Dottin said that, just like he does, Lance also looks to Artishia for in-game support. “Sometimes when I make a mistake and he takes me out of the game, he’ll look to her,” he said. “They’re best friends. They’re basically twins.”
So far this season, Cambridge holds a 9-1 record and is the top-ranked team in Massachusetts. Only time will tell if Dottin will be able to get the team back to the postseason, but one thing is almost certain: either way, his family will be along for the ride.