ARLINGTON — After a solidifying himself as one of the elite basketball players in Snohomish County a year ago, Arlington’s Terry Dawn found himself faced with a difficult choice.
The basketball standout also played an important role on the Eagles football team in 2011, but feeling that he had a future in basketball, Dawn made a tough choice to leave football and focus solely on basketball.
“It was (a tough choice) at first,” Dawn said. “I talked with my mom and my mom thought it was a good idea. It was generally my idea and I wanted to do it because I knew we had a good chance in basketball. I really wanted to focus on it because I want to play basketball in college and I had a chance to play football in college, but I never really wanted to do it because my heart wasn’t there really.”
And Dawn was right about one thing, the Eagles do have a good chance in basketball. Arlington comes into this season voted as the favorite to win the 4A Wesco North by the league’s coaches. And Dawn is focused on doing whatever it takes to help that and more happen for the Eagles.
“I knew that our basketball team had a chance at being the best team that Arlington has ever had,” Dawn said. “And I didn’t want to screw that up by me hurting something, or a little nagging injury. And then I also wanted to help our guys to prepare us for the beginning of the season so we aren’t starting off just out of nothing. I wanted us to get into the swing of things, get our shot going and keep our conditioning up.
The decision it seems has already had its impact on the Eagles’ team.
“You can already see it in our practices,” Dawn said. “We don’t have that much experience on the varsity part of the team, but everyone is caught up to speed that everyone knows what they are going to be doing.”
Dawn seems at peace with his decision and is excited about the prospects of the basketball team moving forward, but head coach Nick Brown said he believes it was still a difficult decision for Dawn to make.
“I think it was really difficult for him,” Brown said. “He had been talking about it and it was a tough thing, but he decided to focus on what he wanted to focus on.”
Part of Dawn’s decision was to help the team and set an example for the younger players. Brown said Dawn has passed that test with flying colors.
“He’s done a great job,” Brown said. “A lot of times kids will say that they are going to do something and Terry HAS done that. He’s been to the gym in the mornings working out, lifting, and shooting. We have a shooting machine and he’s on that all the time. Something clicked for Terry in the last summer I think, I don’t know what happened, but he’s really decided to be the best he can be.”
With the tough choice in the past, now it’s time for the Eagles to get down to business. Dawn will lead the way offensively, but he and Brown know that the rest of the team will have to contribute if the Eagles are going to fulfill expectations.
“He’s all about his teammates,” Browns said of Dawn. “It’s not about him. It’s about making his teammates better and his teammates making him better. He doesn’t care if he gets the shot. In the flow of our offense if he makes an assist, he’s just as happy. If his teammates make an assist, he’s just as happy. It’s never about him making the shot.”
Dawn’s unselfishness will be critical to the Eagles success, but just as important for the team is Dawn knowing when to be selfish.
“The thing about Terry is that you almost want him to be a little more selfish,” Brown said. “But again, it’s all about the team and we preach that and Terry has bought into that. If we can find those moments where he can take over, because he is going to have to sometimes, but I think he has kind of found the mix of when to do it and when not to do it.”
One of the things driving this year’s team will be how last season ended. The Eagles missed the playoffs for the first time in several years, something that didn’t sit well with the team.
“It drives all of us,” Brown said. “It’s something that we are frustrated with, we’re not happy with, we’re not going to accept. I’m not saying we’re going to make the playoffs this year, but we aren’t going to accept not going without giving our best.
“I think this group’s best is pretty good.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org