Cam Dooley wins Athlete of the Week
Published 11:35 am Wednesday, February 7, 2024
For the past four years, it has been nearly impossible to discuss sports in Valley without mentioning Cam Dooley.
Over the past several years, Dooley has dominated on the hardwood and on the gridiron. Last season, Dooley was the leading scorer for the Valley Rams as the team went 33-0 and won the 5A state championship. While on the football field this past season, Dooley amassed 2,125 yards of offense and was named first-team All-State as a defensive back.
Still, Dooley has found another gear down the stretch this season. Over the past three games, Dooley has averaged nearly 29 points, and he scored a career-high 40 points against Lanett on Jan. 30.
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“We’ve got playoffs coming around, so I feel like we have to be on another level,” Dooley said. “The team was playing hard, so it feels like we have to go hard at all times.”
Going into the matchup against the Panthers, Dooley was not necessarily looking for his shot, but it was the icing on the cake for him to drop 40 points on his school’s biggest rival.
“It felt great,” Dooley said. “It was my last time playing against Lanett. I felt like I had to go out with a bang, and I did that. The team, they were right beside me every step.”
Dooley’s legacy at Valley is one like no other. Dominant athlete will be one of the first things that enters most people’s minds first, but Dooley wants to be remembered for more than just what he did athletically. Dooley wants the community to remember who he was off the court.
Dooley learned at an early age from his parents that to get to where he wanted to be athletically, he had to treat people with respect and be a good person in the real world.
“I want to be a great person,” Dooley said. “I know the accolades make me stand out more, but I want to be a great person and a person that never got in trouble and a person with great manners.”
Most around the state know that Dooley is set to continue playing football at Kentucky after he graduates this Spring, but basketball was Dooley’s first love. Dooley grew up being a star on the court and on the field, but he at first dreamed of going to the next level as a basketball player.
“At first it was basketball, but as I’ve said in the past, God led me to football,” Dooley said. “It wasn’t really a hard decision because I felt like I can be great in any sport.”
After this basketball season, Dooley will be turning his complete attention to the football field. However, basketball will always be a part of Dooley’s life, even if he is just getting buckets at Kentucky’s rec center or the local YMCA.
Valley’s starting lineup this season of Dooley, Jay Harper, Jayden Thomas, Ian Crim-Davis and Brandon Thomas have affectionately been known as the “Fab Five” during their time in Valley.
The group will go their separate ways after this season after playing alongside each other since before junior high. The five have grown closer than family over the years, and they still have unfinished business this season.
“I want to go out with a bang,” Dooley said. “I’ve been playing with them since third or fourth grade. I feel like It’s only right we go out with a championship. It’s my last time ever playing with them, I’m going to miss them a lot. They’re like my brothers. Brothers, different mother, but I love them.”
The “Fab Five”, especially Brandon Thomas and Dooley, have become well known for the show they put on at every home game. Every fastbreak typically ends with a highlight reel dunk, and that just made the journey that much more fun.
“I love it,” Dooley said. “Seeing the crowd go crazy when we dunk is just a great feeling. We get hype.”
Dooley is somewhat of a soft-spoken person, but he has taken more of a leadership role over the past few seasons. As a quarterback, leadership was a part of the job for Dooley on the gridiron, but now he has learned to become even more of a leader on the hardwood.
“Just going out and telling them what’s right or wrong to do,” Dooley said. “Even if I’m not in the game, I can talk to them from the sidelines and tell them what spots to be in and what shots to shoot.”
Along Dooley’s journey, the rest of the senior class of athletes at Valley have become close friends. Head coach Marshon Harper has been along for every step of that journey, and his impact on Dooley has gone far beyond athletics.
“He’s helped me a lot,” Dooley said. “He’s like another father figure in my life. He’s been there ever since I was a kid. If I needed something, If I had trouble, girl problems, I could go talk to him.”
Dooley’s run at Valley has been unprecedented, but he is not ready to reminisce just yet. Dooley and the rest of the Rams are solely focused on improving in every aspect and repeating as champions.