Zabian Dowdell was born on September 10, 1984 in Pahokee, Florida.
Though he weighs only 191 pounds and stands just six feet, three inches high, Dowdell is an excellent basketball player. He began his career in high school at Pahokee High School. In his years there, he made the All State First Team his junior and senior years.
In 2003, he received several honors for his basketball skill. The Palm Beach Post named him the 6A-3A Player of the Year and the Palm Beach Post Small School Player of the Year. Further, the Florida Dairy Farmers named him 3A Player of the Year.
Upon graduating from high school in 2003, Dowdell was accepted to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During his four years at college, he scored 1,785 points, making him Virginia Tech’s seventh leading scorer. He also became fifth in assists and third in steals. He was also twice named to the All-ACC Defensive Team.
On November 22, 2003, Dowdell made his first start of his college career in a game against the University of New Hampshire. He made five assists and scored 15 points. Then, in his sophomore season, he helped his team emerge victorious from an intense game with Duke University by scoring the game winning three point shot.
In his junior year, Dowdell managed to score his career high of 25 points in one game against North Carolina A&T State University. In his senior year, he was named to the All-ACC First Team, becoming the first Virginia Tech player to do so. He also led his team to victory against the University of Illinois in the NCAA tournament. This was the first victory in the NCAA tournament Virginia Tech achieved since the 1996 tournament.
Dowdell’s professional basketball career began when he joined the Seattle Sonics for the NBA Summer League. However, it was not until 2010 that he would make another NBA appearance. That summer, he played for the Phoenix Suns in the Summer League. It was due to his skill and play in Summer League that the Suns decided to sign him as an undrafted player, along with Matt Janning and Chucky Atkins.
In his rookie season for the Suns, Dowdell averaged five points per game and had a 41% free throw average. Further, he scored in the double digits three times and scored his career high of 14 points in one game against the Los Angeles Clippers.