by Russell Cooks
Matthew 7:15-20 says “You Will Know Them by Their Fruits.” Dorian Lee is the true embodiment of that scripture in his training of world class athletes. In this year’s state basketball tournament alone, Dorian Lee, the Founder and Director of BBall101, saw more than 20 players that he trains playing in the playoffs. From Fayette County alone, he had stars on two region champions in Jordan Lyons of the McIntosh Chiefs and Christian Turner of the Sandy Creek Patriots.
Where’s the fruit?
Lee’s fruit is all throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area. In 2016 alone, he had players representing three state championship teams, four state finals team, five Final Four teams, twelve Elite 8 teams, and 20 Sweet 16 teams.
Jenna Staiti, 2016 Miss Georgia Basketball and a Maryland signee, says, “I never imagined four years ago when I gave up swimming for basketball that I would one day be honored with Miss Georgia Basketball. I am truly humbled when I look at the legends of women’s basketball who have been named before me. Dorian can be credited with changing my game. He forced me out of my comfort zone to learn and master skills that ‘bigs’ normally don’t have in their arsenal. I credit so much of my success to him.”
Christian Turner says, “Dorian has had an extreme impact on my life, both on and off the court. I feel like he has taught me just as much about life as he has taught me about the game of basketball. He has really always made sure that I was mentally ready for anything as far as life and as far as basketball. From a basketball standpoint, he broke down many of the moves that I use today when I was 9-years-old. He really taught me how to react to the defense with different crafty moves which helps me finish strong in the lane with my size.”
Turner goes on to say, “In my next level training, Dorian will probably throw a lot of stuff at me that he knows I will see at the college level. He will emulate different situations that he feels I will be in, and he will help me to be comfortable in those situations. Dorian and I will probably have a lot of talks about college life on and off the basketball court. He will make sure that I am aware of the challenges I will face off the court and teach me how to deal with them.”
Jordan Lyons, two- time Fayette County Player of the Year, says, “Dorian’s training has had an enormous impact on me. Not only has he helped me improve my actual basketball skills, but he has also increased my self-confidence. Dorian taught me at a young age of 11 to never be afraid to make a mistake. While we are training, go as hard as you can, and mess up now so in a game it will seem natural. Dorian has taught me many moves and reads that make me a good player.”
Jordan adds, “Off the court he has taught me to be the man in everything I do. He taught me to be the best and never settle for anything but the best. As soon as the season is over, I will be right back in his lab working on my craft and learning from him. Dorian will be training me hard for the rest of the time that I have here to ensure that I am ready to make an impact at the next level.”
Andriette Turner, Christian’s mom, says, “Dorian’s training no doubt has been the difference maker for Christian on the court. BB0101 player development program is in a league by itself. BB101 is not your typical training problem. It’s truly about developing each person’s talent level coupled with character building. The impact for Christian was profound and astonishing and the results have been a blessing. There is never been a game that someone doesn’t ask his Dad and I about Christian’s ball handling skills. Our response is the same, BB101, Dorian Lee. You really can’t talk about Basketball Trainers in the ATL and not mention Dorian Lee.”
Elliott Lyons, Jordan’s father, agrees, “Dorian has had a profound impact on Jordan both on and off the court. He is an outstanding and passionate trainer who, over the years, has been able to transcend Jordan’s basketball game by building his skill toolkit. Each year since Jordan’s freshman year, prior to the start of the McIntosh basketball season, Dorian would ask me what two or three things that he could focus on specifically with Jordan to something different and increase his toolkit. Then, for several weeks after that, Dorian would make sure to work with Jordan to add those new skills while continuing to enhance his fundamentals and current skill set. This work and commitment to increase Jordan’s basketball toolkit each year gave Jordan confidence, both on and off the court. In addition, Dorian has always served as a mentor and big brother figure to Jordan. These boys look up to him and respect him and that means a lot.”
Lyons adds, “ When Jordan goes off to college, we expect him to continue to call upon Dorian for advice and to continue his workouts with Dorian when he’s home. I fully anticipate that Jordan will want to work out with Dorian when he’s home and continue the tradition of developing two or three new skills to add to his basketball toolkit.”
Dorian was born in the small town of Whistler, Alabama outside of Mobile. His mother, Doris Lee, was a two-sport athlete in track and basketball. She actually ran track for world class track star Carl Lewis’s mom at Alabama State University.
She passed her passion for athletics on to him early, “My mom introduced me to basketball in the second grade. My mom was a Physical Education teacher, and she was totally committed to excellence. I played in the second grade, but it was in the third grade that the light bulb came on.”
In the third grade, Lee made it to the championship game, but they actually lost, and his mother stopped attending his games. Lee says, “My mom was a perfectionist but was sensitive to criticism. It was a reflection of her in a sense. When parents criticized me in the stands as all parents do, she couldn’t deal with it. I can’t remember her coming to another one of my games until my senior year in high school.
“In the fifth grade, I actually had a 30-point game. I would score all my team’s points. I didn’t play in the sixth grade because I was always getting in trouble for running my mouth. I finally got my mouth under control, and I averaged 20 points per game in the seventh grade.”
A heartbreaking discovery
“I jumped off a truck and hurt my knee, and one year later I was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans.”
Osteochondritis is a painful type of osteochondrosis where the cartilage or bone in a joint is inflamed.
Dorian remembers, “It was really tough. It was discovered while was going into my junior year in high school. It was discovered when I went to get a physical, then I ended having my first of two surgeries.”
Even after the discovery and the surgery, Dorian came back halfway through his junior year but struggled with confidence. However, Dorian had a stellar senior season. He was the second leading scorer in Mobile behind Duke superstar Antonio Lang. Lang played with Grant Hill at Duke University where they won multiple national championships. Lee also played against University of Alabama standout Jason Caffey.
“It was a very tough time in my life. I was the second leading scorer in the city, but I didn’t receive any substantial offers because of the surgeries. When I signed with Bishop State I was on crutches.”
Lee did not let his medical condition hold him back. He led Bishop State in scoring both years that he was there. As a freshman he averaged 14.5 points per game, and his sophomore year he averaged 19.5 points and 6 rebounds 3 assists per game.
As a result of his outstanding play on the court and his perseverance, Lee went from zero offers coming out of high school to multiple offers in just two years. He received offers from McNeese State University, Western Carolina University, Southeast Louisiana, Georgia Southwestern University, the University of South Alabama, and the University of North Florida.
Lee said, “I narrowed my choices down to Western Carolina and the University of North Florida, and I chose the University of North Florida.”
Lee averaged 14.8 points and 1.7 steals per game in his first season at the University of North Florida. His points per game were ranked eighth in the history of the school and steals were ranked fourth, then things fell apart.
At the time Dorian felt that the basketball coach handled the black basketball players differently than the white players. When Lee confronted the coach, he was kicked off the team.
Lee remembers, “I went to meet with the President of the University, and my parents came down to the meetings. Me and my parents met with the coach and Vice President Roland Buck. Mr. Buck reinstated me to the team, but had to submit to a list of very stringent rules. I felt that I was being setup to fail. Therefore, I decided to sit out my senior year. I finished my eligibility at Spring Hill College in Mobile. It eventually worked out.”
He was able to overcome the diagnosis of osteochrondritis dissecans, but he could not overcome unfair treatment.
“I was very outspoken. Never minced words. As I look back, I would probably change my approach, probably would preface items of concern a little differently. I was intellectually mature, but wasn’t always emotionally mature. But I was very, very popular. I was also a good student (3.44 GPA). I was so popular that the Philippino Student Organization painted a mural and they painted my number 14 on the jersey of the osprey during the homecoming of the year that I sat out. When the group showed me the mural, I was very emotional because I had this group who really loved me and showed support for me. They supported me when my own teammates who I sweated and labored with did not support me.
He shows support to all of his players.
“Every kid that comes through my program has a special place in my heart. I have had a great deal of success with the people who I have trained, but I have also had some people who went down the wrong path. No matter what, I have always had their back, and I will continue to have their back,” said Lee.
When asked how he felt about not being able to play his senior and move on to the next level, an emotional Lee says, “I just wish that I had someone to stand with me and support me. It frustrates me sometimes to see successful athletes that I clearly had better skills than them, but they are successful because they had a better support system. Providing leading-edge training for success on the court and off the court as well as a support system is what I commit to everyone who trains under me.”
When asked what new training innovations have you added to regimen to address the mental aspect of the game, Lee responds, “My wife, Tamara Stocks Lee, four-year starter at the University of Florida, drafted to the WNBA player as well as playing seven seasons in Europe, holds several high end sports psychology certifications as well as earning a Master’s in Psychology. We have developed and continue to fine tune a Psycho-Spiritual genre of sports psych that gives the athlete a unique advantage.
“I think I just help give confidence and help others believe in themselves. I just feel that I have been real. I share with them my failures as much as I share my successes. I am available for them. Anytime of the day and night, hey can call me, and they do. I know more about what’s going on with them than even their parents because it is sometimes harder to talk to our parents about our issues. They do understand, however, that I keep it extremely real. So they know that they are going to get it unfiltered. I have purchased suits for our kids and worked on teaching them how to dress for success. I have provided free SAT and ACT prep for over seven years. I have spent hours upon hours giving to them what I never had.”
Success at the next level
When asked how she started training with Dorian Lee, Yvonne Anderson says, “I began training with Dorian at the advice of an agent I was in contact with at the time who works with several WNBA players. I had family in the Atlanta area and asked for a recommendation of a trainer in the area who could take my game to the next level, and I was given BBall101 and Dorian Lee’s name.”
Yvonne is not a basketball novice. She is the daughter of University of Arkansas head basketball coach Mike Anderson.
Dequan Jones, who currently plays professionally in Japan, says, “I ended up training with Dorian through a mutual friend named Devin Butler in August of 2012. At the time I had just finished up a productive summer league stint with the Orlando Magic and had just gotten word that I had been invited to training camp with the Magic in October. As you could imagine, this was a vital time in my development but Dorian came highly recommended. I remember my first impression of Dorian. He seemed serious and reserved but somewhat passionate. I always tell this story whenever the question of when Dorian and I first met. I came in the gym fairly relaxed seeing as though I had 30 minutes before I was scheduled to start training. So, I did what any millennial would do, I pulled out my phone to check Facebook. ‘Are you going to sit on your phone or do you feel like training and getting better today?’ was Dorian’s reply to my relaxed approach. I remember in that instance feeling a sense of relief because at that moment, I knew that this was where I was meant to be. I went on to make the Orlando Magic’s final roster after having a sub-par college career and going undrafted. I noticed how productive and how instinctual my skills were during training camp. Things that I had never been comfortable doing had become a normal part of my game. This new found comfort was credited to the short time I spent training with Dorian prior to the start of camp. I saw the progression in my approach to the game as well as how much more skillful I had become. I have been rocking with Dorian and BBall101 ever since.
“Training with Dorian on the court has been monumental in my success. He has mastered the art of breaking down the small aspects of the game and how they ultimately formulate the big picture. He instilled in me a passion to maximize on potential but most importantly to get out of a safe zone when it comes to training,” says Jones. “He knows the right buttons to press and exactly what to say to get you back in the right frame of mind. I sometimes revert back to training during game situations to help dig me out of a shooting slump or help break mental barriers that come with playing the game of basketball. Before having trained with BBall 101, I would get nervous or self conscious about missing open shots. That would lead to me being hesitant and ultimately not taking them. During one 5 on 5 training session, Dorian pulled me to the side and said ‘A passed up shot is just as bad as a missed shot. Your teammates trust you enough to put you in that position so you owe it to yourself and them to have the confidence to shoot it’ These words were spoken to me 3 years ago and they still echo in my mind today.”
Anderson adds,”Training with Dorian has opened my game to reaching levels I had never been able to reach before. By being open to his process and the details he teaches, I was able to adjust my game to a much more effective and efficient style. He’s pushed my confidence higher than it’s ever been and given me an outlook on the game that I needed to achieve my basketball goals.”
Anderson says, “I would recommend Dorian Lee and BBall101 to anyone who seriously wants to take their game to another level. For serious basketball players who are open to learning and want to be great, Dorian Lee is the guy to do that. Along with an amazing basketball trainer you will also get an amazing individual who will open up his heart and home to you and care about you as if you were one of his own.”
Lee’s commitment to making a difference in every aspect of the athletes life is definitely working. You can tell by the fruit he is baring.