Andre Dawkins will be back on the court for Duke next year.
Dawkins, who played from 2009-2012 and redshirted last year to deal with grief from his sister's death in 2009, announced on Twitter Thursday that he would return to the floor next year.
Excited to say that I will be a part of the 2013-2014 Duke Men's Basketball Team, he wrote. Thanks to everyone for the support throughout the year.
Dawkins also announced that he was changing his number to 34 because he admires Ray Allen, who plays for the Miami Heat, and the way he shoots the basketball. Ryan Kelly had worn 34 for the Blue Devils for the past four years.
I want to get a fresh start and be a different player than I was, Dawkins tweeted. In October you will see a different Andre Dawkins.
Dawkins arrived at Duke a year earlier than anticipated, for the 2009-10 season, after forgoing his final year of high school eligibility. In the 2011-12 season, he started 14 games and averaged 8.4 points per game, but his production and playing time came in spurts. He hit more than five 3-pointers on three occasions, Nov. 15 against Michigan State, Jan. 19 versus Wake Forest (when he hit all seven in the first half) and Feb. 23 at Florida State, where he posted 22 total points. After that, though, he only scored a combined eight points over the final six games of the season.
During Dawkins' freshman year, his mother and his sister, Lacey, were driving to Durham to watch Duke play St. John's on Dec. 5, 2009. Lacey, who had never seen her brother play in college, died in a car accident on the way.
Former Duke players Kyrie Irving and Casey Peters were among those who congratulated Dawkins on Twitter Wednesday. He will graduate in May and play his final year of eligibility next year as a graduate student.
This year was tough to be away but I feel like I have grown immensely off the court and am ready to come back and help the team win, Dawkins tweeted.
Rasheed Sulaimon, who started 33 of the 36 games last year, will likely keep his starting spot. Dawkins and incoming freshman Matt Jones will be available off the bench at the shooting guard position.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley