Fruit heading to Columbus State

Published 10:02 pm Friday, May 11, 2018


Daily News

Columbus State had pretty good success the last time it landed a LaGrange High basketball player.

Britteny Tatum, after enjoying a successful stint at LaGrange High, went to Columbus State and was a four-year starter.

Columbus State’s women’s program is hoping history repeats itself.

Aryan “Fruit” Dozier has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Columbus State, and she’ll be a member of the team for the 2018-2019 season.

Dozier, like Tatum before her, was a four-year starter at the guard position, and she was a prolific scorer since the first time she stepped on the court in LaGrange High’s gym.

About the only thing that could slow Dozier was an illness that cost her a few weeks of playing time during her senior season.

Dozier came back strong and led LaGrange to the regular-season championship in Region 5-AAAA. LaGrange finished second in the region tournament, and it made it to the second round of the state tournament.

Dozier’s head coach the past two seasons was Stephen Tuck, and he’s grateful for the experience.

“These past two years, being able to act and serve as her head coach has been really good for me being able to watch her grow, not just Fruit the basketball player, but Fruit the person,” Tuck said.

When Dozier was considering Columbus State, she talked with Tatum about her experience there, and she received a glowing report.

“She said she liked it,” Dozier said. “She said enjoyed it.”

Dozier added that “it means a lot to sign,” and she was grateful to have her family members there for her last week.

That group includer her mother Shalana Welch, her step-father Carlos Welch, her grandmother Alvaree Welch, her sisters Adrianna Potts and Antoinesha Dozier, and her brothers Rashaad Potts and Tailique Williams.

“You always need support,” she said.

Also there for Dozier were her teammates, including her good friend Chnaireia Strozier.

The two started in the LaGrange backcourt together for four seasons, and their relationship goes back further than that.

Strozier will also likely get an opportunity to play college basketball, and she is weighing her options.

“We played middle school, and (recreation basketball) together,” Dozier said. “She’s my best friend.”

Tuck was gratified when Dozier told him she may consider become a teacher.

“Hearing her say that, and knowing her now, I see all of those qualities of her becoming a teacher in her,” Tuck said. “I stand here just really honored just to be a part of this day. I look forward to her doing great things in college.”

Tuck also felt it was important for Tuck’s teammates to be a part of the signing ceremony.

“I know many of the players here today, I hope they see this same opportunity, and see if they do the same type of things then this is an option (for them),” Tuck said.