By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on February 21, 2021
Southern Shores brothers Mason and Isaac Dobie have been dominating the basketball court ever since the two were youngsters shooting hoops in the Dare County Parks and Rec league. But their shared affection for the sport began long before they started playing with their buddies at the Rec Center in Kill Devil Hills.
“Mason’s first word was ‘ball,’” said their mother, Emily, in an interview with the Voice. “As a baby, he would sit there and watch Isaac and have a ball in his hand. He’s just always been a ball kid.”
Now, 14-year-old Mason and 16-year-old Isaac are not only consistently top performers on their perspective teams at First Flight Middle and High schools. They are also being recognized by recruiters and scouts as they compete at a higher level on traveling teams and at elite basketball camps.
From their days at Rec, both brothers began playing for local AAU teams, the Ballers and then Team 252, as well as AAU teams in Virginia Beach. Eventually, they were recruited to more competitive teams with Mason, an eighth grader, now playing for Team Trezz in Rocky Mount, and Isaac, a sophomore, on the N.C. Blazers based out of Elizabeth City.
“They seem like they’re just bred to be student athletes and basketball players,” asserted First Flight Middle School head basketball coach Matt Drake, who has coached both boys through their middle school years. “There are millions of good things I could say about them, but from a coach’s standpoint, they’re definitely a blessing to have.”
Noting that they are well-rounded good students who are “super respectful,” Drake said that despite their skills and talents, the Dobie boys are extremely humble. “There is nothing cocky about their personalities at all,” he asserts.
He also said that they make everyone else on the court better players, pointing to the inevitable times when plays break down during the games. “All of a sudden, their amazing skill just comes out of nowhere and they make it work,” Drake said.
Isaac, who led First Flight’s Varsity team this year in almost every category, including averaging 23.5 points a game, was a starter for the school’s varsity team as a freshman during the 2019-2020 season. He was also the first sixth grader in First Flight Middle School history to make that school’s team and play with the starters.
As for his current high school season, which ended on Feb. 19, the eldest Dobie, at 6’2”, has been recognized by MaxPreps as player of the game in six of this season’s games.
Patrick O’Brien, writing for the Phenom Hoops Report in January, had this to say about the eldest Dobie: “Early on, it seems that Isaac Dobie, a prospect part of the 2023 class, has stepped up big for [his team] this season….Averaging around nine points last season as a freshman, Dobie is now putting on a show and averaging nearly 24 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals per game for First Flight.”
He concluded that Dobie “has given fans plenty to talk about with his style of play and how he has elevated his game, as he certainly should be one to start monitoring more down the road.”
First Flight High School head varsity basketball coach Chad Williams also offered kudos, noting that “Isaac represents what you want out of all of your student athletes. He works extremely hard in the classroom and on the court. But more than that, he’s such a nice, polite kid.”
Before a recent game, Williams said, Isaac was on the court shooting and “when we came in to set up the gym, he immediately stopped what he was doing and just started helping,” he said. “He didn’t ask if he needed to help, or just continue on with what he was doing. Little things like that don’t go unnoticed.”
For his part, the eldest Dobie said he loves basketball “because I love competing, winning and pushing myself, and I can do all of those on the court,” Isaac said. “Wanting to get better and the fear of not reaching my potential keep me motivated.”
Mason, at 5’11”, is finishing up his eighth-grade year at First Flight Middle. He was MVP of his middle school team last year as a seventh grader, and most recently was recognized as the Most Outstanding Shooter last weekend at the Fab40 Middle School Showcase in Jacksonville, N.C. The Fab40 is an invite-only event for under-the-radar players in eastern North Carolina.
After the 2019 CP3 National Middle School Combine, the nation’s top showcase event for middle school prospects, the organization reported that Mason “has a deep three-point range, is a great shot blocker, and a skilled passer.”
Pointing to Mason’s skill on the court, Drake said the youngest Dobie has had the benefit of having Isaac as an older brother to look up to and play ball with. “We all know that makes you a better player when you have someone older than you to show you the ropes,” he added.
As for what he loves about the sport, Mason said, “I love how basketball takes the stress away from school and everything else, and I love getting to play with my friends and play against very high-level competition.”
Routinely making the All-Star teams in the elite camps they attend, the Dobie brothers are accustomed to being on the road, with Emily noting that most recently, Mason has competed in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Rock Hill, S.C. Both Isaac and Mason train in Virginia Beach and Greenville.
During a typical basketball season, the brothers spend roughly 15 hours each per week honing their skills, whether it is with their school team, their trainers, at camps or on their AAU traveling teams.
As for being on the road most weekends, Emily notes that over the years, the family has adapted. Isaac points out that travelling for basketball has given him the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. “Playing people from other regions is always fun for me because I feel like I am playing for my entire area and can’t let them down,” explained Isaac.
His little brother concurred. “It has been a really cool experience to meet all of these new athletes who have the same goals as me from all of these different places,” Mason said.
As for their future in basketball, both Dobie brothers have their eye on playing Division 1 college basketball. But in the meantime – with Mason entering his freshman year during the 2021-2022 school year – they have a few years left to play together at First Flight High School.
And in this case, there’s no sibling rivalry.
“They really do so well together and play well together,” concluded Emily.