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Leftovers: Dominique PorterPosted Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at 11:21 PM
I wrote a feature on Scott County Central Dominique Porter for the Southeast Missourian and semoball. You've probably already noticed it, but here is a link just in case.
I wasn't able to fit all the information I had into the story, so I figured I share some of the more interesting leftovers here.
On playing in his first final four as a sophomore and winning his first state title:
Dominique: "It's something you won't never forget. I won't never forget that. It was a good experience. I had never played on a caliber of that level before. I had always played maybe JV or something, but going up there to state with my cousin Bobby [Hatchett] and my cousin Otto [Porter] -- the mind frame that I went in there and had was, 'We've got to win this. We can't go in there and mess around.'"
"I don't think I was too much nervous. Our team was stacked with Bobby and Bubba [Otto Porter] and everybody else, so I really wasn't nervous. I just didn't want to mess up and have them on my tail. I looked up to my cousins, so I tried to do everything that they done because I wanted to do everything perfect."
We talked quite a while about the fact that he's played inside so much during his career despite being under 6-feet tall. I included plenty about that in the original story, but didn't include his response to where and when he learned some of the post moves he's been flashing in the postseason. I wondered if he'd been taught those over the years or if he'd just adapted and improvised as necessary.
Dominique: "I was kind of used to it. I've been playing since I was a sophomore and a junior, playing that inside spot. I just had to take it and just go with it. I couldn't go in there and ask my coach, 'Can I play the guard spot,' because I know we pretty much didn't have anybody else who was there that could do it. I just had to step up and play that big man's spot."
"It comes from practicing. It kind of interprets the guard play being about to dribble. You've just got to read the defense."
"And playing out their with my uncle Otto and my cousin Otto and my dad and everybody on Sundays. We'll play in the old gym. I'm kind of free, so I can kind of practice those moves."
"I thank my dad on that because my dad told me that my ballhandling was going to get me to where I needed to go. Doing those post moves, my dad, he's the one that pushed me to do that, told me to get out there and work on my dribbling."
Dominique's dad, Jerry, also attributed Dominique's well-rounded game to the family matchups.
Jerry: "When you come from a big family like us and him playing against his cousins, he had Otto Jr. It was all about competition. Always. We still play to this day on Wednesdays and Sundays. Any time we go out to the gym it's always a competition, so him playing with me and then you've got Otto Jr. playing with his dad, it's kind of like a rivalry-type ballgame going against each other all the time. You always want to be better than the next guy. You want to be able to come home and say, 'Ah, look what I did tonight. We won a ballgame tonight.'"
"It's just competition I instilled in him. He's been doing this pretty much all his life, playing. It's just a regular routine for him, and when he's not rebounding in the game, I definitely let him know it. Even if I have to yell over the crowd, I'm going to let him know, 'Hey, you're not doing this.' He'll usually give me the thumbs up, but they're definitely going to hear me."
"As a sophomore he had to step up and play inside, which everybody started noticing that this kid plays bigger for his size than most of the kids that's 6-5, 6-6. That's just kind of been instilled in him. He kind of plays the guard but then he kind of plays the post. He's kind of a versatile player. He can just pretty much do it all when you need it."
Jerry said he makes sure he Dominique and his younger brother Jaylen hear him during games.
Jerry: "It's been exciting to see your two boys pretty much growing up together. You hoped that they would get to play together as a junior and senior. It's been fun to watch. I think I do more coaching with both of them, more than anything, but it's fun to watch."
"It's never a relaxing thing. Knowing your two boys and what they can do and what they can't do. If they kind of do something that I know they can't do then that kind of gets nerve-racking. I've kind of got to yell at them every once in a while to let them know what they did wrong or something or what they need to do to make an impact on the game, you know?"
So do the boys actually hear him?
Jerry: "Oh yeah. You can pretty much ask any of the Scott Central fans, they're going to hear me. There's not a doubt. They're going to hear me. I know there's a coach on the sideline, but I pretty much coached them all their youth years so I pretty well know their negatives and their positives."
"They've still got a ways to go. Hopefully they can go ahead and pull it out, but it's not really about the wins and losses. I just want them to go out and give 110 percent. You can't ask anything else of the kids more or less. If they give it their all and they're satisfied with the way they played, then you can't have no regrets."
Jerry, who was on four SCC state championship teams, said he talks to his sons about how they played after every Braves' game.
Jerry: "Sometimes there can been good nights and sometimes there'll be bad nights. We might be arguing, but that just comes with the territory, especially trying to follow in my footsteps. I pretty well know what it takes, especially at state or whatever, trying to win it."
"Like I tell them, if they have a good game or whatever, there's always room for improvement. No matter what. I can tell them all the bad stuff about the game, and they don't want to hear that. They said, 'Man, can't you just tell me that I had a good game?' I said, 'Yeah, you had a decent game, but there's always room for improvement. Always.'"
"It's pretty hectic. This is after every game. We'll talk about it. And, like I said, one of them might go off in the back room crying, but we're always talking about the good and bads of the game."
I had plenty of Dominique talking about doubters in my story, but here are a couple quotes that didn't make the cut.
Dominique: "From the previous years, coming up to state now means more to me just because everybody just turned their backs on us. Them turning their backs on us just made us work even harder in practice when we're running. That just makes us run harder just to prove everybody wrong."
"A lot of people overlooked us. Because we were small don't mean that we weren't going to box you out. I think a lot of people overlooked how short we were and we weren't going to work."
Lastly, a few more words from dad.
Jerry: "It doesn't matter if they take fourth, at least they made it to state. They did what they needed to do. But the main goal is to win it, so that's what we're looking for. Any way it goes I'm proud of them."
Jerry on Dominique: "He's good kid. For what he's accomplished this year, as a parent, you couldn't be happier. He's definitely stepped up to the plate and as far as the whole year, he's been delivering. Hopefully they can go ahead and get this next state title."
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Rachel Crader is the editor of semoball.com. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2009 before spending the summer covering the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Highlights from Rachel's days in college include having a class down the hall from Chase Daniel and having NCAA wrestling champion Ben Askren hold the door open for her at Brady Commons, Mizzou's student center. She spent time covering Mizzou basketball, softball and baseball while working for the Columbia Missourian and is excited to return home to Southeast Missouri to cover local sports for semoball.com.
Rachel has covered three Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournaments for the Southeast Missourian and semoball.com, and she'll see you courtside again this year.
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