Nolan Dorsey couldn’t go with the usual announcement.
It wouldn’t be him.
While the 6-foot-6 point guard from Raleigh (N.C.) Middlebrook High School did take the usual route for 2019 to announce his college basketball recruitment decision on Sunday afternoon – posting his decision on his social media channels – he used a non-conventional message to make the announcement.
Accompanying two pictures of himself in the UNM men’s basketball locker room wearing two versions of the team’s uniforms from when he was on his official recruiting visit two weeks ago in Albuquerque, Dorsey announced he would play for the Lobos with the following message: “Heading west like I’m Lewis and Clark.”
Heading west like I’m Lewis and Clark. pic.twitter.com/8mC6dq4Dtj
— Nolan Dorsey (@NolanDorsey3) October 6, 2019
“I was just talking with my brother about how I should say it because I didn’t want it to be boring,” said Dorsey, the lifelong North Carolinian whose older brother Patrick plays basketball at Navy. “I’m an out of the box kind of guy so I wanted to be out of the box with it.”
Dorsey is, indeed, an out of the box sort of player.
The pass-first point guard says he models his game after former NBA players Steve Nash and Jason Williams. Nash is one of the best Canadian basketball players of all-time, and both UNM Lobos head coach Paul Weir and assistant coach Jerome Robinson, who was once a Nash teammate on Team Canada, are from Canada.
It was Weir, however, who did essentially all the recruiting of Dorsey, a somewhat unusual move in the recruiting game when assistants are often the initial recruiters with head coaches coming in later to evaluate and decide about a scholarship offer.
“Coach Weir, he really loved my game and really made me feel like I could be a big part of what they do,” said Dorsey, who prior to two weeks ago had never been to New Mexico. “New Mexico has a lot of talent on the roster and play in a really good conference. I can’t wait to get there.”
Dorsey said on offense, fans are “going to see a show. I’m a pretty entertaining point guard who is a pass-first point guard for sure.”
While he will look to score more this senior season, he said, he also said his defensive game has been a strength for a couple seasons. He guards the 1 through 4 spot on the floor, he says, and has been assigned the opposing team’s top player as a defensive assignment each of the past two seasons in his high school team’s diamond press, trap-heavy defensive scheme.
Dorsey realizes there may be doubters about his ability to contribute right away, but says that has only fueled him throughout his development as a player.
“I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “And it’s not only about trying to prove people wrong, but about proving myself right, because I know what I can do.”
On Saturday night, 6-9 power forward Bayron Matos, a senior at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., gave his commitment, beating Dorsey to the punch to become the first official commitment of the Lobos’ 2020 recruiting class.
Commitments are non-binding until a player signs a National Letter of Intent. The first time high school seniors are allowed by the NCAA to do so is in the “Initial Signing Period,” which is in November of their senior season (this season the date has been set at Nov. 13). The regular signing period is in the spring, after high school basketball seasons across the country are completed.
Both Matos and Dorsey told the Journal their plan is to sign with UNM on Nov. 13. UNM coaches are not allowed to share their thoughts on the recruits until they sign.
It would appear for now that the Lobos will have at least three scholarships open for the 2020-21 season with the departures of three seniors – two big men in forwards Carlton Bragg and Corey Manigault and guard JaQuan Lyle (Lyle could apply for a medical hardship waiver at the end of the season, but has not yet done so and is classified as a senior).
Weir and the Lobos coaching staff continue to recruit heavily for the 2020 class.