INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’ve followed the star-studded senior class at Lawrence North High School, you’ve likely seen JW and Sylvia in the stands.
JW introduces himself, “We are JW and Sylvia Sanders, and we have two older boys, Brian and Austin, who both went to Lawrence North.”
Nearly eight years ago, Dorean joined the mix. His birth mother decided he should move in with Sanders.
JW said, “We have known Dorean for a long period of time, and, through God, grace and God guidance, you know, we come to love him more and more.”
“Basketball, consumed our life because of him. So, we became a basketball parents,” Sylvia said and then smiled.
For nearly the last decade, as Dorean grew into a young man, he grew into a part of the Sanders family. So much so, that most people had no idea that they weren’t even related.
“They weren’t really aware of none of my coaches, none of my teammates, they just always assumed that they were my parents,” Dorean Hatton said. “I get a lot of comparison saying that me and my dad looked alike, so I just really went along with that.”
JW said, “Even Coach Keefer calls us Mr. and Mrs. Hatton, and we just never see a need to correct that. Everything was working.”
So, for the last four years, Dorean’s last name has been listed as “Hatton” on the Lawrence North roster, and as he helped lead the Wildcats to their No. 1 ranking in the state. He was fine that no one knew what was taking place off the court.
But as his final chapter at Lawrence North comes to close, he decided it was time to set the record straight.
Dorean recalled, “After we won sectionals, we had a lot of momentum and then the virus happened and then we were all sad. But then like when they told me that things were going to change in my life.”
Shortly after the Wildcats season came to an unexpected end, the Sanders decided they wanted to make things official for their family. In March, the Sanders applied to officially adopt Dorean. In May, his adoption went final, just days after his high school graduation.
“Nothing but joy and happiness, now I’m officially a Sanders. I don’t have anything to worry about,” Dorean said.
This fall when he heads to the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, Dorean will officially become the first collegiate athlete to represent the Sanders family.
“I want to ball out on the court, especially now since my last name is Sanders. I want to put that name on for them and for me,” Dorean said.
Dorean Hatton Sanders sure has a nice ring to it.