Once upon a time Andre Dawkins was assumed to be a surprising addition to the Duke roster as he graduated high school and joined the crew early. His sniper of a jump shot was a welcome addition and Duke Faithful enjoyed the fan favorite as he nailed shot after shot.
Now in his junior season, Dawkins was supposed to step up and help Seth Curry run this team. Andre was supposed to improve his scoring average and be yet another dead eye shooter to help this team progress.
As the season long marathon continues something very strange has happened to Andre; he has simply vanished.
Early in the year Dawkins was the shooter many expected as he tallied scoring totals of 26, 10, 14 and several other double digit games. Shooters are typically streaky but the key thing to note is that through the entire season he has only had 3 times has he had back to back double digit games.
That stat alone will make some scratch their heads. This is after all the junior who frequently plays for 30+ minutes and has the potential to be as important as anyone else on the team.
This hot and cold player has been MIA since before Christmas. If you take a look at his last four games, it shows an eery pattern that Duke fans won’t like.
12-30 vs. Western Michigan: 1-6 for 2 points
1-1 vs. Penn: 2-7 for 6 points
1-4 vs. Temple: 0-3 for 0 points
1-7 vs. Georgia Tech: 1-5 for six points
The pattern is simple, if Andre is not feeling it then he simply shys away from shooting. He basically knows from the jump wether he is there that day or not and it doesn’t look like he can “find it” in the middle of the game.
In all four of those games he only hit four three point shots. A number that he reached in one game versus UNCG.
So what does it take to get Andre going again? Easier said than done, Duke needs a point guard. They have now inserted Quinn Cook into the starting role, and as his role expands so will the shots for everyone else’s.
Cook may not be the end all-be all answer, but he is the closest thing Duke has to a natural PG on the roster. The reason one player could be the difference in Dawkins’ positive play is because Dawkins can not create his own shot. He is a great shooter and nothing more. Leave him alone and he can kill you but throw an average athletic player on him that can disrupt his shot, and you lose him altogether.
Using Cook to spread the floor, Duke could also use a guard version of a screen and pop type of offense. This would make the defenders pick their poison and possibly open a few more shots for Dawkins. Another tactics that Duke could use is a low screen from the Plumlees or Ryan Kelly along the baseline. This allows Dawkins to run along the perimeter and sweep past the screens getting the open shot.
All easier said then done for a guy who is considered to be an average athlete.
This season is not a wash for Dawkins, and he is almost certain to have a “coming out” party. Each and every Duke fan is hoping that when this happens the light bulb won’t go out and will keep him running for the rest of the season. If Andre can snap out of it and insert himself into the offense for this team, then they instantly get better. Having a threat off of the bench ilk Dawkins would be a huge addition to the team, and possible just what they need to finally stop Coach K’s tinkering.