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GYLAN AND MALRU : Two Bookend Brothers Are Making Names for Themselves With the Brand of Basketball They Play at Saddleback

Times Staff Writer

For most of their lives, Gylan and Malru Dottin of Saddleback High School have been asked this question: “Where did you get those names?”

No one questions their basketball skills. The boys are bookend forwards, both strapping 6-feet 6-inches and 200 pounds with the ability to run with most guards.

But those names? Where did you get those names? It’s a question they’ll hear for the rest of their lives.

“My father made them up,” Gylan said. “Malru has an excuse. My father named him after two people. I have no idea where mine came from.”

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George Dottin, a salesman for IBM, named Malru after black activists Malcolm X and Ruchell Magee.

“Gylan was named after a buddy I grew up with,” George said. “My buddy was one of two boys that we used to call big guy and little guy. I combined Guy with my middle name (Andrew) and came up with Gylan.”

George Dottin also had a plan for his sons. Dottin played basketball at Porterville Junior College and introduced his sons to the sport when they were 5 years old.

“We used to go to Taft Elementary School every Sunday and work on fundamentals,” Gylan said. “We worked on left-hand layups and then right-hand layups. Everything was fundamentals.”

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The boys played together in recreation leagues in Santa Ana and developed into varsity starters by the time they were sophomores at Saddleback.

Today, Gylan is 17-year-old senior forward who is being recruited by four-year colleges such as Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, St. Mary’s, Montana and San Jose State.

Malru is a 16-year-old junior who is playing the post position. He drew a lot of attention recently in the Irvine World News tournament where he scored 82 points in five games and was named to the all-tournament team.

The Dottins are a big reason Saddleback is off to an 8-2 record as they open play in the Orange Invitational at 4:40 today against Marina in Chapman College’s Hutton Sports Center.

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Saddleback has never won a league basketball title in the school’s 20-year history, and Gylan said the team’s goal is to become the first league champion.

“We want that banner for the gym,” Gylan said. “That’s what we’re shooting for. We had a productive summer, and we think we have the best chance of winning.”

In an era of high-fives and intimidating dunks, the Dottins rarely show their emotions when they’re playing. They seldom smile and rarely show any anger. Gylan says their court coolness shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of intensity.

“We play hard all the time,” he said. “I’ve heard some people say we lack intensity. That’s not true. We just don’t get overly excited. That’s the way we were taught to play the game.”

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Gylan and Malru both play only basketball at Saddleback. Although Gylan played freshman football, when he grew to 6-4 as a sophomore, it was apparent that basketball was his game.

Malru grew four inches between his sophomore and junior years and his father predicts he’ll be 6-8 before his finishes growing. Malru is a self-proclaimed junk food junkie.

A couple of times a week, Malru will announce, “I’m going on a run.” That means only one thing: Malru is hungry. He heads for his favorite fast-food restaurant for a couple of cheeseburgers, French fries and two shakes.

Gylan’s favorite meal time is breakfast. He routinely woofs down several large waffle squares with a couple of glasses of milk.

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“They go through a gallon of milk and four to six bottles of Gatorade a day,” George Dottin said. “Fortunately, they both can wear each other’s clothes and shoes.”

Pat Quinn, Saddleback coach, was asked to compare the Dottins.

“Malru is a better shooter, but then he’s taking high-percentage shots,” he said. “He has a very soft touch. Gylan is a better rebounder. He’s more aggressive on the court because he’s a little more confident.

“I think Malru will eventually be as good as Gylan or may be even better. He’s learning in a silent manner as a younger brother, but he’ll have his day.

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“Malru probably works harder than Gylan because so many things come naturally to Gylan.”

Gylan’s greatest natural gift is his ability to run. He’s being recruited as both a big guard and a small forward. UC Irvine thought he might even develop into a point guard.

“I worked on my outside shot all summer because I knew I needed to expand my shooting range,” Gylan said. “I wanted to take my game to a higher step.

“I love running the fast break. It doesn’t matter if I get out on the wing or take the ball down the middle, I love to run.”

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Six college coaches visited the Dottin home during the early signing period, but Gylan made it clear to each that he wasn’t going to sign a national letter of intent until the spring.

“Basically, I wanted to visit the schools during basketball season so I could see their games and their practices,” he said. “I also wanted to wait and see how much my game improves.”

George Dottin has a final plan for Malru. He’s hoping to get his son some East Coast exposure by enrolling him in the Five-Star Camp in Philadelphia and the Nike Camp in Princeton, N.J.

“I’ve really enjoyed teaching my sons and following their careers,” he said. “They’ve played in the Slam n’ Jam spring league for three years and we’ve gotten to know Adam Keefe, Bret Johnson, Steve Guild and Bobby Joyce. It’s fun following them in the papers and at the tournaments.

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“I once told the boys, ‘When you can beat dad, then you’re ready for the big boys.’ By the ninth grade, they were beating pops and it was time for them to move up to higher competition.”


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