Dukes Steadily Improving

When Shamaine Dukes committed to Wake Forest this past week, the ability of the 6'1 guard was virtually unknown. Since then, Dukes has spoken with DeaconSports about his will to win and his AAU coach has called him a "winner." Today, DeaconSports catches up with Dukes' high school coach who describes the player Wake Forest will bring to Winston-Salem to man the position vacated by NBA-bound point guard Chris Paul.

"He's been a starter the past two years," Randolph-Clay high school coach Joseph Williams said of his point guard, Shamaine Dukes. "We've won 61 straight games with him at the point and two state championships. He averaged 24 points, 7.7 rebounds, eight assists, and six steals per game for us as a senior with five triple doubles."

Though listed as a point guard, Williams believes Dukes' game consists of more of than just the ability to dish the ball to teammates. "He's a deadly shooter from three point range. Of course he can penetrate and dish or just penetrate and finish, but he does know how to shoot."

Steadily, Dukes' game has improved to bring his play to a level at which he can compete with D-I level athletes. Still, Dukes' game will continue to improve, making him more prepared for life in the ACC. "He averaged just over 11 points per game as a junior, but this year it went up as he's getting better and better," Williams noted. "He's even better now than at the end of the year. We expect for him to keep on improving. [Down the road] he's looking beyond Wake Forest [to the NBA.] He's going to Wake Forest, but he's looking beyond that. He can play."

"I told him to keep doing what you're doing and improve and move past the other guys," Williams continued. "There are guys going pro and you can do that down the road, I said. You have to work on your game and also your defense a little more to stay between the man and the basket, though he already knows defense wins ballgames."

Before all the dreams of the NBA, however, stands a college career at Wake Forest. Expect that to get under way soon, perhaps as soon as the end of May. "I think he is planning on going to Wake Forest soon," Williams said. "They want him the 24th [of May] but he doesn't get out of school until the 27th. He might try to work it out so he can get up there and enroll then, though. They really want him up there in summer school."

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