Duke’s Andre Dawkins working through grief, father says

CorrespondentApril 20, 2012 

NCAA Lehigh Duke Basketball

Duke's Andre Dawkins reacts following after losing an NCAA tournament second-round college basketball game against Lehigh in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, March 16, 2012. Lehigh won 75-70. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

GERRY BROOME — AP

Andre Dawkins’ father reiterated Friday morning that Dawkins is still a member of the Duke basketball team.

The elder Andre Dawkins said his son has the option of taking next year off to work through any lingering grief from the death of his sister. Lacey Dawkins was killed in a car accident on Dec. 5, 2009, while driving to watch her brother play in college for the first time.

“He’s dealt with a lot,” Dawkins’ father said. “It’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy at all. With the fast pace of playing high-level basketball, you don’t really get the time to deal with things like that.

“Everyone is different and so everyone might handle that situation differently. I appreciate the fact that’s an option for him if that’s going to be the case. That’s been really great.”

Duke released a statement late Thursday saying that, despite rumors to the contrary, Dawkins had not left the Blue Devils’ basketball team. The release said there was the possibility that Dawkins might redshirt next season, but that such a decision would be made in the fall.

Dawkins’ father stressed that Dawkins is doing well.

“I didn’t want you have to the impression that anything’s wrong,” he said. “This may be an option for him in the fall because he came in early, so this just may be an option for him.

“I didn’t want people to think he’s sick or anything’s wrong.”

A Duke spokesman said the school had no additional comments in light of Dawkins’ father’s remarks.

After reclassifying in high school and arriving at Duke a year earlier than originally planned, Dawkins has had an inconsistent Blue Devils career, a trait that was on full display this past season.

Dawkins averaged 8.4 points per game last season while making 39 percent of his 3-pointers, but he experienced wild fluctuations in his production.

The 6-foot-4 guard exploded in first halves against Wake Forest and Florida State, hitting seven 3-pointers against the Demon Deacons and five against the Seminoles en route to a season-high 22 points.

He wasn’t the same player after that Florida State performance, however. Dawkins finished the season scoring eight total points in the Blue Devils’ last six games.

Five of those points came in Duke’s NCAA tournament game as Dawkins endured a stretch where he missed 13 of 14 shots and scored three points in five games. At the time, Dawkins said it was as bad a stretch as he’s ever been through.

If Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Blue Devils fans were perplexed by his struggles, Dawkins offered a glimpse into his mindset earlier in the year.

“My whole life I have tended to become complacent,” Dawkins said in an interview with The News & Observer. “When I get a little bit of success, I think, ‘OK, I’m good now,’ instead of getting a little bit of success and thinking that I want more success.”

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