For the first time in recent memory, the San Francisco Dons have high expectations heading into the year. ESPN recently picked the Dons to finish 4th in the deep WCC which would put them on the precipice of the NCAA tournament. In order for the Dons to reach their lofty goals, senior point guard Cody Doolin must have another stellar season. Over the last four years the Dons have been plagued by constant turnover but Doolin has stayed a constant as the starting point guard. In fact, Doolin is on track to make his 100th start tonight in the season opener on the Hilltop. The only other senior on the squad is actually Doolin’s roommate Cole Dickerson who himself has made himself into a start in the WCC.
“Cody (Doolin) and Cole (Dickerson) are pretty good at leading and setting an example for the rest of the team. Not only are they competitive but they know what’s going on offensively and defensively. They are being more verbal in practice as they know it’s their last go-around this year. They want to make sure they go out the right way,” explained head coach Rex Walters.
The Dons faithful are hopeful that Doolin can finally be the man that can lead the Dons back to the promised land of the NCAA tournament. Coach Walters has helped change the culture of Dons basketball but his former leaders Dior Lowhorn and Angelo Caloiaro couldn’t quite get the job done for the Dons. The highly touted Doolin was the apple of Walter’s eye ever since Walters saw Doolin play at a high school basketball tournament. From the very moment that the Austin native Doolin stepped on the court, everyone knew he would be the next great USF Don.
“We are returning nearly our whole team and we added a few nice pieces. We are playing really well together right now and we had a good preseason so if we keep it up it should turn into a real nice season for us,” said Doolin.
It’s hard to imagine that the University of San Francisco used to be one of the true powerhouses of college basketball. All-time great Bill Russell walked the campus in the 1950’s and actually led the Dons to back-to-back national championships in 1955 and 1956. School spirit doesn’t reign supreme at the small San Francisco campus which explains why War Memorial is never rocking like it should be. In order for the Dons to compete for a WCC championship they must gain a home-court advantage.
“The only thing we can control is winning games. The more games we win means more fans show up. When the fans do show up they are really loud and they do a good job of making us on to play hard and win the game for them,” exclaimed Doolin.
The Dons roster has been in constant flux over the last couple of seasons. Many key players including De’End Parker, Perris Blackwell and Mikey Williams have left the Dons over the last two years. Finally, the Dons have a full squad of players returning to the team which can only help the camaraderie on the court.
“I think so, we are returning nearly our whole team and we added a few nice pieces. We are playing really well together right now and we had a good preseason so if we keep it up it should turn into a real nice season for us,” said Doolin about having nearly the whole team back.
The off-season hype ends tonight as the Dons prepare to play their first game of the season. Expect Cody Doolin to play his best basketball of his career because it will be his last chance to experience March Madness. Hopefully, Doolin and the young Dons can help to create a lasting legacy at USF starting this year.