Alexis Dobbs has had her share of sports injuries. As a result, the women’s basketball team captain has become well acquainted with doctors’ offices.
A spate of knee injuries brought the junior from Berea, Ohio, into contact with a physician’s assistant at the Cleveland Clinic. Dobbs was so inspired by her work that Dobbs spent last summer shadowing her at the prestigious hospital.
Dobbs’ summer wasn’t just spent learning about medicine. She also used the months off to work on her individual game. She focused on broadening her ball-handling skillset and tightening up her shooting. She needed to have more of a scorer’s mentality this season.
This is the student athlete ideal — showing academics and athletics equal favor. It’s always been Dobbs’ approach, said Coach Matt Corkery, and it shows. This year, the Patriot League named Dobbs the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time.
Dobbs, a public health major with a biology minor, carries a 3.83 cumulative G.P.A. She is a two-time CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honoree, two-time Academic All-Patriot League selection, two-time Dean's List honoree, and two-time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recipient.
After she graduates next year, she intends to go to physician assistant school and ultimately end up working in orthopedics or sports medicine.
Dobbs follows in the footsteps of women’s basketball alumna Liz Hayes, SOC ’08, who was also a two-time winner of the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
"Being named the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year is one of my greatest accomplishments," Dobbs said. "I was definitely brought up to do well in the classroom. Everyone knows one day the game is going to end."
Both of Dobbs’ parents know that from experience. Her father, Franklin “Happy” Dobbs, played basketball at Villanova University and is currently a coach at Bryant University. Her mother, Karen, ran track and field for Florida State University.
Her parents never pushed her or her brother, Frankie, who plays basketball for Bryant, into the sport. They just naturally gravitated toward it.
“Basketball is what she’s passionate about,” Corkery said. “She’s following in footsteps, sure, but it’s a path she’s chosen.”
Dobbs grew to love the game not just because it fed her competitive side, but also because it was a smart game. You have to think in basketball, she said.
This past season, Dobbs had to step up as a captain and lead her team. As a starting guard, she had to create plays for her teammates and facilitate their success.
“Going into this season, I had a whole new mindset. I was excited to come into this season working with a new offense,” she said. “I helped us play to our strengths this year.”
The team’s plan this season was to maintain an up-tempo, aggressive style of play that would benefit from the athletes’ high level of fitness. Dobbs’ job was to create easy shots for her teammates and look for shots for herself.
Her teammates took cues from Dobbs and they were rewarded with scoring opportunities she helped create. She managed the game for the Eagles, which makes sense since teammates describe her as solid, accountable, and someone they can count on.
“Players look to her when the pressure is on,” Corkery said. “She brings confidence to the table and keeps everyone calm.”
This season didn’t go as planned for the Eagles. They lost to Bucknell 46-43 in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Championship. Still, Dobbs’ play was consistent to the end. Dobbs posted five assists in that final game and made plays for her teammates.
She prides herself on that consistency.
“We talked about that a lot this year,” she said. “You build up your play over the season so you’re playing your best basketball toward the end.”
Dobbs’ consistency doesn’t end on the basketball court. Her achievements in the classroom are evidence of that, Corkey said.
“She’s really representing the AU women’s basketball program in a positive light. We’re about developing the whole person,” he said. “It reflects well on the athletic department as a whole.”