It took a long time for former Duke guard Andre Dawkins to realize that it’s loss that teaches us the worth of things.
After being called upon by Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to play as a freshman for the Blue Devils, Dawkins faced an obstacle that would change his life. While heading to watch him play during the 2009-10 season, Dawkins’ mother and 21 year old sister Lacey got into a severe accident that cost the life of his best friend.
Dawkins battled through the death of his sister, but slowly started showing disdain for the game he loved so much. Despite putting up great numbers his sophomore year, the writing was on the wall. Dawkins was holding back the depression that buried the player and person he once was.
Once a dream to play at Cameron Indoor, teammates witnessed games become a chore for Dawkins. Important moments in school history passed him by. Finally, after his junior season, Coach K dismissed him from the team.
While many thought he’d transfer to another school, Dawkins sought help during what would of been his final year as a Duke Blue Devil. He was able to spend the year finding himself and the closure needed in his life following the death of his best friend and sister.
Feeling the itch to get back on the hardwood, Dawkins started working out before the start of last season. That’s when he decided to prove to himself, his teammates, and the world that he was back to the Andre Dawkins of old.
The former top recruit asked the coaching staff if he could return to the team. When they accepted, he proved that he was a different player. He accepted a smaller role, changed his number, and instantly became a leader.
Teammates boasted about his change in character and how hard he worked in practice. Moments in games where the former starter would be voiceless, became opportunities to shine as a leader.
Now he’s looking to take that change to the NBA.
Over ten teams have already invited the former Virginia prep star to work out for their team, including the Detroit Pistons.
Dawkins only played 14 minutes a game last season, but every one of those minutes were valuable to the Blue Devils. He is one of the few prospects out there that wasn’t a star or major contributor to his team, but so far — he’s fitting in alongside them.
As the great John Wooden once said, “things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”
Dawkins hopes to make the best out of being one of the major sleepers of the 2014 NBA Draft.
Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
Points Per Game: 7.9 | FG%: 44% | Free Throw Percentage: 81% | 3P Percentage: 42% | 2P Percentage: 54% | True Shooting Percentage: 63% | Offensive Rating 126
The Andre Dawkins Story
Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis documented Andre Dawkins’ story and his road back to the Duke Blue Devils in November of 2013.
One thing we know from his time in college basketball is that Andre Dawkins can flat out shoot. His jump shot in my opinion is one of the prettiest in the sport. He uses a strong form to get points, but even more importantly he uses straight fundamentals to score the basketball.
A good reason why he shot 40% from three point range in his time at Duke is that he squares his feet to the basket nearly every time he shoots. Whether it’s off the inbounds, dribble of first move, Dawkins shot is golden.
Because he is such a heat check player, Dawkins scores in volumes. In 15 minutes played against Pitt in late January, Dawkins scored 20 points on 6/7 from three point range. Just how valuable is his offense? In his time at Duke, the Blue Devils went 40-3 when he scored in double digits.
Offensively, he plays within his means. He doesn’t try to force to many shots. He also doesn’t force driving to the basket when there isn’t a lane. For the most part, he is also good at sticking to assignments. His job at Duke was to be a spot up shooter and not to handle the basketball in any way.
Yet it seems that his game can translate to the NBA in other ways. Teams have been interested in seeing him shoot the basketball off of dribble and his instincts when it comes to finding holes in defenders. He has shown in the past he has the athletic ability to get to the basket and defend his position.
Dawkins’ biggest weakness might be that people haven’t had an opportunity fully to determine what his true strengths and weaknesses. Scouts believe they know he needs to work on his offensive diversity. Yet he really hasn’t had a chance to show off his full offensive skill set.
One thing that is blatantly clear is that Dawkins has to improve his consistency on offense. In the last 11 games of the season, Dawkins couldn’t find a rhythm. He shot just 20% from three point range (6/29), including an 0-5 performance against Mercer in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. At the NBA level, his calling card will be his three point shot.
But what good is it if he can’t find the consistency he needs to be a weapon?
The other major weakness for Dawkins is his ball handling. There is a reason one of the best coaches in the country used him exclusively on dishes and kick outs from three point territory. The Blue Devil coaching staff did a good job of keeping him out of harms way when it comes to turnovers, but at the next level — he’s going to need to handle the basketball a bit more.
Ball Durham’s Amie Just recently wrote about Dawkins and his quest to the NBA. She provides us with some thoughts on the former Duke Blue Devil’s future.
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.
Fitting the Pistons Glove
A look at his career numbers at Duke really don’t portray how much value he could be as either a 2nd round draft pick or undrafted free agent. As much buzz as he is creating for himself, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sneaking into the first half of the second round or even going as high as where the Pistons draft at 8th overall in the 2nd round.
He fits exactly what the Pistons need. A shooting guard that can help spread the floor and be deadly from long range. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits that bill, but it might be nice for Pistons management to have another player in the ranks at the position that can score from outside.
The Pistons finished 29th in the league in three point field goal percentage.
Anything to help improve that would be good for this team.