The Dotzler last name in Omaha is synonymous with many things, basketball and family are just a few.
Josiah, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior-to-be and the second youngest of 14 Dotzler children, is carving his own path while at the same time relying on his older brother Josh’s footsteps.
A former Bellevue West and Creighton star, Josh has been through the recruiting process and is one of the trusted resources Josiah looks to for advice.
“He really wants to be a part of my recruiting process,” Josiah said of his older brother. “As soon as I started getting calls from coaches he was one of the first people to step in and help me.”
Josh has been there and done that. He was a two-time state player of the year in high school for the same Bellevue West T-Birds and legendary coach Doug Woodard that Josiah plays for.
“He has been really encouraging as far as telling me to not be afraid to share my thoughts with him,” the younger Dotzler said. “He has been a big help in the (recruiting) process so far.”
It’s not just Josh that has been an integral part of Josiah’s basketball career to this point. His father Ron has helped Bellevue West as a volunteer assistant coach of sorts since 2001.
That recruiting process reached new heights earlier this week when Liberty University became the first Division I basketball program to offer Josiah a scholarship.
“It was a really cool situation. They contacted me a few weeks ago or in June when the period opened up,” Josiah said. “They have been in contact since then and really got to know me.”
A member of the Liberty coaching staff was in attendance at all but one of Dotzler’s games for OSA 16U #3SSB on the Adidas shoe circuit in Birmingham, Al last week.
“When they (Liberty) came to watch they said they really enjoyed my body language and how I played and said they would really enjoy me playing at their school.”
Liberty has found success in Nebraska in recent years. Former Kearney High School star Shiloh Robinson will be a junior next season for the Flames.
Liberty isn’t the only Division I school that has shown interest in the big shot taker and maker Dotzler. Belmont, Northern Iowa, Omaha, Illinois State, South Dakota State, Drake, North Dakota State and University of Saint Thomas have also been in contact.
More recently Creighton has shown more interest. Of course following his brother at CU and playing for the hometown Bluejays was always the top priority but he understands that might not be a reality.
“I feel like for me it used to be like that. Creighton is a great school and I love what they are doing with the program,” he said. “I used to think they were my top priority and I wanted to go there for sure but the more I think about it I am willing and open to trying new things and new places.”
For now, Josiah is just trying to block out the coaches that are in attendance at his games for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
““I try not to think about it and just play my game. I try not to worry myself with other things going on,” he said. “It’s definitely cool and nice to see lots of coaches at the games.”
With such a large family cheering section at his high school and AAU games, Josiah had once thought about staying close to home for college basketball as a must.
“I have definitely thought about that. At first I wanted to stay close to home but as I have gotten older I have been open to leaving home because I don’t want to limit myself,” he said. “I want to go somewhere that best suits me. I am willing and open to going anywhere.”
He hasn’t visited any schools just yet but those conversations have begun.
“A few of those conversations have happened,” he said. “I am not positive yet on a date but I think we will set up a time to go to Liberty in the fall. The others I’m just not sure yet.”
For now he’s focused on what he can control and leaving his own legacy on and off the court.