Atkins senior steps into leadership role

Daia Dawkins is a senior guard/forward for the Atkins Camels basketball team.

Atkins senior steps into leadership role
December 13
02:45 2018

Daia Dawkins is a senior guard/forward for the Atkins Camels basketball team.  The sport is more than just a game for Dawkins; she eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. 

Dawkins and the Camels kicked off their year in grand fashion by winning the Mary Garber Holiday Tip-Off Classic, in November.  Dawkins was named Most Valuable Player, finishing with 17 points, 8 steals, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

As one of the elder statesmen on the team, she knows her leadership and experience will be needed if the Camels are to achieve their ultimate goal, a state championship.  Her drive for success was built many years ago when she first picked up a ball at age 3.

Because both of her parents were basketball players, it was natural for Dawkins to follow suit.  Her parents attempted to introduce her to other sports, but Daia always came back to basketball in the end.

“My parents played basketball, and I was always around them when they played, so I guess it was just second nature for me,” said Dawkins.  “Basketball was all that I knew.  My parents tried to get me into cheerleading when I was younger, but I just cried. So as soon as they put a ball in my hands, the tears stopped.”

The fifth grade was when Dawkins started seeing the potential in her basketball skills.  Once she made it to the high school level, she had a few setbacks with injuries, but continued to develop her game. 

“This year, I am one of the leaders on the team, one of the captains on the team and now I have to play the role the seniors did my first three years,” she said.  “I have to keep my composure on the court and just keep putting in the work and stay dedicated.”

Heading into the Mary Garber, the Camels were the Number One seed in the Champion Bracket.  This was their first championship in the history of the tournament.  The victory was made better by the fact they accomplished the feat on their home court.

“A lot of people already doubted Atkins, even though we were a Number One seed,” she continued.  “We lost a couple seniors that were key players, so not only were people doubting Atkins, we felt like we had a lot to live up to.”

“I knew that I had to step up overall.  Last year I did, here and there, but this year it could not be that way, I had to step up every game and give it my best by contributing some way to my team.  I felt like we had a chance to win, and my team pulled it out.”

Dawkins says she was happy for her team, but was happier for her coach.  She felt her coach had a lot to deal with by having to integrate so many new parts into the team. 

Teaune Vinson, Dawkins mother, says basketball has always been a big part of her life.  Vinson coached Dawkins for many of her early years in the game, so she was able to contribute to the development of her game over the years. 

“Coaching for me was a way of fulfilling my passion for the game,” said Vinson.  “We never wanted to pressure her into playing basketball, which is why we tried to expose her to other sports.  She made the decision to make basketball number one.”

Vinson has garnered interest from several colleges to play ball at the next level.  She is focused on finding a school that will allow her to pursue her dream of engineering as well as basketball.

“I don’t have a dream school and I do want to play on the next level, but what I think about more is my academics,” said Dawkins.  “I don’t want to pick a school just for basketball specifically, because I like to think ahead just in case something happens.  I love engineering, so a school that provides both I what I want.”

Dawkins has received some attention from a few colleges, but wants to leave her options open to make the right decision for her.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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