66ers Blog: Role Change for Dowdell

Zabian Dowdell joined the Tulsa 66ers organization towards the conclusion of last season, playing in 10 games (two starts) where he averaged 12.9 points in 27 minutes per game.

The Florida native’s role this season has drastically increased, as the 6-3 point guard has started all seven games for the 66ers.

Dowdell has quickly helped lead the 66ers on the court in 2010-11, pacing the squad in points (17.8), assists (4.6) and steals (2.86) per game.

Although proving to be an effective offensive player, Dowdell’s pride comes on the defensive end of the floor where he leads the D-League in steals per game.

“I have always prided myself on being a defender,” Dowdell said. “Defense is definitely most important and Coach (Nate) Tibbetts stresses it day in and day out. He rarely talks about offense. At the end of the day, defense wins games and wins championships. If our team buys into what he preaches to us every day, then we have a great chance at being successful.”

Dowdell has recognized his need to be a leader with many newcomers on the 66ers roster this season.

“With a young team, the focus every day must be learning to be consistent and playing together,” Dowdell said. “Personally, I want to bring positive energy to the team every day. I have to be the guy that continues to stay positive and brings optimistic energy all of the time in any situation.”

Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts agrees that his starting point guard is in a new role this season.

“He didn’t have a huge leadership role last year,” Tibbetts said. “This year it has been a little bit different. It has been good for him. Learning how to be a point guard is sometimes tough, but he has a veteran presence and he needs to continue to show that to this team.”

As for personal goals for the upcoming season, Dowdell knows he must continue to improve his overall game.

“I am always trying to be a complete player,” Dowdell added. “My goal is to do everything well and eliminate all weaknesses from my game. I enjoy teaching these younger guys how to be professionals and I always try lead by example.”