Dukes Rises Up

Nettleton sophomore Victor Dukes (6-4, 190) got some major publicity for his monster dunk during the high school season, but it was his 39-point monster game that led the Arkansas Soldierz to the Real Deal in the Rock 16-and-under title on Sunday afternoon.

LITTLE ROCK - Nettleton sophomore Victor Dukes showed this weekend at the Real Deal In the Rock that there's more to him than just one highlight-reel dunk.

Dukes (6-4, 190), whose monster dunk late last season went viral and got twitter comments from LeBron James and Deion Sanders, exploded Sunday afternoon with 39 points to lead the Arkansas Soldierz over Mac Irvin Fire 89-75 in the 16-and-under championship game.

"We get the ball and get it moving in transition and are just a really fast team," noted Dukes, who had 22 of his points after halftime as his team rallied from a 43-41 deficit. "We just get it and go. It's so much fun playing with a team that has this much talent."

Indeed the Soldierz roster includes some of the best young and overall talent in Arkansas in North Little Rock sophomores KeVaughn Allen (6-3, 180) and K.J. Hill (6-1, 180) and Conway freshman Adrian Moore (6-3, 170) just to name a few along with Ruston (LA) High sophomore standout Javier Roper (6-6, 185).

Allen, nursing a sore groin that kept him out of action the first two days of the event, had 18 points in the title game.

"He's so good," said Dukes, who averaged around 16 point per game this season. "I know he would have loved to have been playing with us all weekend."

Duke's Sunday outing was none too shabby, especially for somebody just getting over a broken hand.

"I can't really shoot the way I want to right now because I broke my hand and I am just getting over that," Dukes said. "I like to drive it to the basket so I have just been trying to get to the rim more right now. Coach Kahn (Cotton) has me squeezing this tennis ball and it's getting better."

Dukes' dunk came in a 41-37 win over Manila during the NEA Tournament Division II bracket championship game at Arkansas State in Jonesboro and instantly blew up on the web.

"I just drove to the rim and just flushed it," Dukes said. "I was thinking about how I was going to dunk it while I was in the air. I got me a nice mix tape out of that. I heard LeBron tweeted about me, but I didn't get to check it out. Deion Sanders tweeted about me and said he wanted me to go to his prep school (Prime Prep in Dallas)."

That dunk also brought attention from colleges, including the Razorback coaching staff.

"They are going to start talking to me next year when you can do that, but they have sent me letters and stuff," Dukes said. "I really like Arkansas program and I really like the (head) coach (Mike Coach). I like their style of play. It's home from me. I'd love to end up staying in Arkansas and playing there."

"I have also gotten letters from Lehigh, Marquette with Buzz Williams, Memphis has also sent me some letters.

"We did pretty good," Dukes said. "We were outsized a lot because we were kind of small. We played very hard, but didn't get to state."

"I am going to continue to work on my shooting," Dukes said. "Over this spring and summer I am going to get a lot of shots up and be ready for next year."





Victor Dukes' dunk that went viral last season.





Victor Dukes


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