Dujuanta Weaver first placed his hands on a basketball at the age of two. At this time, he couldnâ€™t fathom all the incredible things he would be able to do with that object. Now, 16 years later, he has grown, discovered his talent, and has used it to lead the Doss Dragons to a historic season. His remarkable play this year as a senior has earned him recognition as the Northwestern Mutual Athlete of the Month for March.
â€œIt means a lot. Itâ€™s showing me how much my work ethic is paying off, because Iâ€™ve been putting in a lot of work. It lets me know that my work is being recognized. Itâ€™s a step above of what I want to happen later on.â€
The Northwestern Mutual Athlete of the Month award honors student athletes who have shown athletic prowess and academic achievement. Beyond athletics and academics, Northwestern Mutual focuses on character, courage, and commitment to teammates.
In athletics, the 5-foot, 10-inch guard who averaged 16.9 points per game has a well rounded game. His ability to shoot, pass, dribble, and his court awareness led to Weaver being named the sixth region player of the year.
Weaver has grown tremendously as a basketball player. He mentioned that Doss was not his first option to play high school basketball, but guaranteed playing time was the key in landing him in a Doss jersey. He has enjoyed his four years at Doss, seeing the tangible growth of his teammates and himself.
Weaver has led Doss to a historic season, becoming the sixth region champions and reaching the state championship for the first time since the 1980â€™s. Much credit goes to head Coach Tony Williams, Doss and University of Louisville alum, as well. Weaver says playing under a coach with great basketball experience like Williams has taught him much about the game.
â€œHe knows a lot about basketball. He experienced a lot, and he knows what it takes to get there, and the work to put in to do well. The little things on and off the court that he teaches us are good things. Our relationship has grown, and in our first year together we got to know one another. The farther we went in the season, the more trust he gained from the team.â€
Weaver has also been able to overcome obstacles as a basketball player. In four years, he mentioned that Doss has always been doubted as a program, but now they are finally getting the credit theyâ€™ve been working so hard to deserve. He admits that in overcoming adversity such as this, mental toughness was essential.
â€œPeople doubted us throughout all my years here. So we put in a lot of work. I really wasnâ€™t shocked [by being] successful this year, because this is what we wanted. This is what we envisioned. The work that was put in paid off.â€
Hard work has paid off as well for Weaver in the classroom; he has a 3.0 GPA and understands that players and classmates try to model his leadership. In leading people in the right way, he tries to, â€œKeep a strong mind in the classroom and on the court.â€ And in cultivating relationships outside of school with his teammates, like any great point guard he ensures his teammates are in the right place at the right time, not just on the court, but off the court, as well.
â€œWe hang out with each other and go places. So I try to keep playersâ€™ heads straight, and make sure that everybody is in the right place at the right time. We go to the YMCA and play 5-on-5. We stick together so that the chemistry can be strong.â€
Weaver models his game after two players, both in college and in the NBA; Quinn Cook of the Duke Blue Devils and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. His goal is to display his talents for a Division I program, while studying physical therapy. With offers from IUPUI, Wright State, and Ball State, his biggest interest is between Wright State and Ball State. Wherever the young man chooses to go, he will continue to be that spark that leads to success. VT