What Andre Dawkins Brings To Duke

On Friday the news that Andre Dawkins had finally qualified and been admitted to Duke University became official. While it's well known that Dawkins brings instant help to a backcourt depth chart devoid of high major depth, TDD asked the recruiting industry's foremost talent scout for his take on what Dawkins brings to the 2009-2010 Blue Devils.

"Duke's [lack of] depth at his position will enable Andre to find his way onto the court quickly," said Scout.com National Recruiting Director, Dave Telep. "And his talent will keep him there. Dawkins is a shooter. That's what he does best, but it won't define him in the long term. If he maxes out his talent and adds work off the bounce, and to the goal - he will truly be getting the most out of his ability.

As with most freshmen, the 6-foot-4 scoring guard will likely experience his ups and downs as he makes the adjustment from the demands of high school and AAU basketball to those of the Duke program. Unlike many players, however, Dawkins will be immediately thrust into what could be the brightest - and ultimately harshest - spotlight in college hoops. With so much potential scrutiny, Telep notes that the Washington, DC native will need to battle through the challenges.

"His biggest challenge will be keeping focused and not getting frustrated. Remember, he's had the least time to prepare mentally and will be the youngest guy, age wise on the club. He's an emotional guy and staying focused will be tough given the expectations and fact hes being counted on to help early.

Having watched Dawkins' progress over the last few seasons in both AAU and high school contexts, Telep believes the Blue Devils have added a player who competes at a very high level, but isn't done improving and defining his game. But, in this age of instant analysis and evaluation, if Telep had to write an overview of what the talented player brings to Durham?

"I would write a bunch of chapters about his jump shot, confidence behind the arc and high release. I would mix in some highlight reel dunks (in the photos section in the middle of the book) and leave a bunch of chapters blank. I think this guy has a chance to be really, really good. 40 percent behind the arc is attainable and if he develops a mid-range game and can get himself to the basket he could be a guy who earns money someday."

Certainly high praise, but as has been noted, Dawkins' game is far from a finished product and there are some habits he'll need to break in order to become more effective at the collegiate level.

"The next step [for him] is developing his mid-range game, and not settling for 3s. I'm telling you, and I know others believe this, he could be a big time player off the bounce. In high school and AAU, he's such a good shooter that he gets the shot whenever he wants. The times when he hasn't settled for the J he's proven to be a strong and athletic driver and finisher.

By reclassifying and graduating early, Dawkins joins McDonalds All-Americans Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly as newcomers to a team that lost Gerald Henderson to the NBA Lottery and Elliot Williams to transfer. So, in the grand scheme of things, what did the "trade" of Williams for Dawkins net the Blue Devils heading into this season?

"I wouldn't want to look at it that way because one guy was a lottery pick and the other a Top 15 player. They carried considerable expectations heading into next season had they both been there. Above anything, Duke gained a much better shooter behind the arc than they had."

Lost in the excitement of the early enrollment process, is the fact that Duke's class of 2010 recruiting haul now boasts just two players in the form of four star power forward Josh Hairston and four star point guard Tyler Thornton. Of course, the Blue Devils have their sights apparently set on the nation's top overall prospect, Harrison Barnes and the second rated point guard - Kyrie Irving.

"Those two would certainly make the class and bring championship expectations to Durham," said Telep. "Dawkins make the 2009 class a lot stronger, and it was already outstanding to begin with."

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