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April 10, 2004

IOWA Deaf's Dorn named C.B. Basketball Player of the Year

From: Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil - Council Bluffs,IA,USA - Apr 10, 2004

RYAN WEATHERILL , Staff Writer 04/10/2004

Edlin Dorn was born with a gift that's easily spotted when he steps on the basketball court.

The Iowa School for the Deaf senior has a natural instinct and athletic ability that most people - hearing impaired or not - could only dream of.

Once Dorn realized his talent, he worked relentlessly to improve upon it, and his effort has turned him into a top-flight player. It's also earned him the 17th annual Daily Nonpareil Council Bluffs Boys Basketball Player of the Year Award.

"He's got a lot of natural ability. He's got a good concept of the game," ISD coach Dan Gradoville said. "He does some things that you don't teach, or even have to teach.

"He's got game."

Dorn, who stands 6-foot-8, is the first Iowa Deaf athlete to be named the Nonpareil Boys Player of the Year, and it's an honor that's a source of pride to him.

"To win it the first time for ISD... it feels pretty good," Dorn said. "I'm proud to be the first one."

The accomplishment has been in the back of Dorn's mind before, as he has watched St. Albert standout Matt O'Connor receive the past two awards in a row.

"That made me a little bit more hungry to try to accomplish it," Dorn said.

Dorn played with the St. Albert duo of O'Connor and Zac Gradoville, coach Gradoville's son, in a tournament in Hawaii in 2001, in-between his freshman and sophomore seasons, and it was an eye-opening experience.

"It helped a lot because the competition was really tough," Dorn said. "It showed me that had to improve some more to play at that level."

Dorn has been improving every year since. He finished his prep career with 1,652 points and 1,194 rebounds, and this year he was named the Co-National Player of the Year by The FRAT, a national deaf publication.

While his averages of 23.9 points, 16.7 rebounds and five blocks per game this season are superb, they don't necessarily do his talent justice.

"If he would have been a little more selfish he would have had even more impressive stats," Gradoville said. "But, he's really not a selfish player. He wants his team to succeed."

Heading into this season, Dorn's biggest goal was for the Bobcats to win their third straight Great Plains Schools for the Deaf Tournament title, which they did, thanks in large part to him. Dorn finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks - the last of which sealed the win.

"There was a lot of pressure for us to not give up and try to get that third straight title," Dorn said. "That was our goal."

All of his accomplishments seemed far away when Dorn - who hails from Des Moines - came to ISD as a lean sixth grader, but his future coach had an inkling of what was to come.

"You could tell he had a lot of athletic ability. You could see it when he first got here," Gradoville said. "You could tell he was probably going to be something special."

Dorn didn't play competitively until eighth grade, but he was already heads and shoulders above everyone else, literally and figuratively, as he stood 6-4 at the time.

When he started playing at the high school level, he started to realize his potential.

"When I started playing high school ball I really started to focus," Dorn said. "I wanted to become better."

Dorn proved his talent at this year's Daily Nonpareil/Iowa Western Community College SWI All Star Basketball Game, playing against the best competition in southwest Iowa and standing out.

Dorn scored 18 points, pulled down 14 rebounds, swatted three shots and dished out three assists in the game, threw down back-to-back dunks in the fourth quarter and was named the Large School team MVP.

With his prep career capped with an exclamation point, Dorn is going to take his game to the next level. Dorn is going to attend school at Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas, and will be eligible to play for the Howard Community College basketball team.

Howard, which is also in Big Spring, acts as the parent school to SWCID, giving Dorn the chance to play college basketball.

"Since I was a freshman I thought I'd like to try (to play college basketball)," Dorn said. "It will be a big challenge. I need to improve my free throws and get ready to play a more physical brand of basketball.

"I'm going to keep hitting the weights."

"I think he'll do fine. He's pretty mature," Gradoville said. "He's been here for seven years so he's developed independent living skills. And as far as basketball, he's a great player. He can do a lot of things."

For Gradoville, watching his best player move in is bitter-sweet.

"To have the opportunity to work with someone of his ability and attitude has been real special," Gradoville said. "You don't get a chance to coach a player like that very often, and I don't know if I'll ever get to again.

"It's going to be different without him wearing that maroon and gold next year."

Previous Winners

2004 - Edlin Dorn, Iowa School for the Deaf

2003 - Matt O'Connor, St. Albert

2002 - Matt O'Connor, St. Albert and Mark Flaharty, Thomas Jefferson

2001 - John Turek, Abraham Lincoln

2000 - Luke Erickson, Lewis Central

1999 - Mike Rossbund, Abraham Lincoln

1998 - Chris Lownes, St. Albert

1997 - Damian Teymer, Abraham Lincoln

1996 - Tommy Parrack, Thomas Jefferson

1995 - Pat Malone, St. Albert

1994 - Tony Mauer, St. Albert

1993 - Tony Mauer, St. Albert

1992 - Jason Gillman, Lewis Central

1991 - Cornelius Askew, Thomas Jefferson

1990 - Dan Miller, Abraham Lincoln

1989 - Nate Schnitker, St. Albert

1988 - Kevin Nixon, Abraham Lincoln

©Daily Nonpareil 2004