Rob Kinnan- USA TODAY Sports

Blue Devil Spotlight: Andre Dawkins

Andre Dawkins had an interesting career at Duke to say the least. Not many college athletes start their careers early and finish late, but that’s exactly what Dawkins did.

He gave up his senior year in high school to enroll at Duke and play basketball for the 2009-2010 season. That season he came off the bench and scored 169 points, playing in 38 games. That season he also tied the Duke freshman record of scoring six three-point field goals in a game. Dawkins had a fire burning inside him: a fire that was burning because of something other than basketball.

On December 5, 2009, Dawkins’ mother, Tammy Dawkins, and sister, Lacey Dawkins were making the drive from Columbus, Vir. to Durham to watch Andre play. But they never made it. They were in a car accident. Dawkins’ mother was okay, but his sister’s condition was far worse. She underwent intensive surgery, but many of her organs couldn’t be repaired. Doctors attempted to pump more blood into Lacey, but it kept coming back out. Lacey was pronounced dead later that evening.

His fire kept burning for his sister through the 2010-2011 season, when he was a sophomore. He started in seven games, playing in all 37. He had 12 games where he scored in double figures and one game where he scored over 20 points. He also had the highest field goal percentage on the team that season.

His junior season was when his fire essentially became extinguished. “You couldn’t trust him in a game,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski in an interview.

The days after Lehigh stunned Duke in the NCAA Tournament, Krzyzewski dropped another bomb on Dawkins. Dawkins wasn’t going to be suiting up for his senior season, at least not with Duke.

After going through another round of therapy, Dawkins was diagnosed with depression and was put on antidepressants.

As time went on Dawkins weaned himself off of the medication and kept thinking about basketball. There were conversations between the coaching staff and Dawkins, and they came to an agreement, that Dawkins could return to the team. Krzyzewski wanted Dawkins to wear a different number, signifying turning over a new leaf. Dawkins agreed and suited up with the No. 34 for his final season of eligibility.

In his last season of eligibility as a graduate student he averaged almost eight points per game and had a better free throw percentage than he did during his three previous seasons. He had far less playing time, only averaging 13 minutes a game compared to 22 minutes from before, but the situation had changed since then.

Now Dawkins is looking at the NBA. According to Dawkins’ agent, he had workouts scheduled with the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks.

Dawkins has faced adversity over the past five years with everything that has happened, but despite the adversity, he’s trying to make it work. He wasn’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine back in May, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Duke’s Jabari Parker, and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid declined their invitations. The way things look right now, Dawkins is expected to go undrafted and could end up on a NBA roster during free agency.

There are pros and cons to Dawkins just like there are for every other player that steps onto the court. It’s documented that Dawkins has let off the court issues impact how he plays. Granted, he has taken steps to overcome that problem. He also hasn’t been put in that situation since then. It’s also documented that Dawkins shoots over 40% from behind the three-point line and commands offenses when he is put in the situation. He knows his way around the court and has played with some of the best players to come out of Duke in the past five years. Despite being around high caliber talent, he still put impressive numbers on the board when he wasn’t starting.

If Dawkins has impressive workouts with the teams and they take into consideration his stats from college, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up on a NBA roster for the 2014-2015 season. If he gets that far, I’m not sure how much playing time he would end up with, but Dawkins just needs to take things one step at a time.

Tags: Andre Dawkins Basketball Blue Devil Spotlight Duke Blue Devils

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