At a time when transfers have become an epidemic in college basketball, Duke released the rarest of statements Thursday night.
The school announced Andre Dawkins is not leaving the program.
Amid swirling message board and social media speculation that Dawkins had either been kicked off the team or was planning to transfer, Duke officials understandably felt it was necessary to refute that. The school did acknowledge the veteran guard may decide to redshirt next season, a rarity for a likely starting guard with only one season of eligibility left.
Dawkins' father cleared up that mystery Friday morning when he told the Raleigh News & Observer that his son has the option to sit out next season to work through any lingering grief from the death of his older sister. Lacey Dawkins died at age 21 in a car accident in Dec. 2009 while driving from Columbus, Ohio, to Durham to see Duke play St. John's.
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"He's dealt with a lot," Dawkins' father told the News & Observer. "It's been tough. It hasn't been easy at all. With the fast pace of playing high-level basketball, you don't really get the time to deal with things like that.
"Everyone is different and so everyone might handle that situation differently. I appreciate the fact that's an option for him if that's going to be the case. That's been really great."
Credit Duke for providing Dawkins the option to redshirt should he feel he needs it because the Devils certainly could use him on the court next season. Duke hopes to count on the perimeter shooting of Dawkins and Seth Curry to help absorb the early departure of Austin Rivers, the team's lone guard who could consistently get to the rim this past year.
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The streak-shooting Dawkins averaged 8.4 points per game last season and shot 39.2 percent from behind the arc, but he finished last season in a vicious slump. He scored just eight total points in the team's final six games and sank only 3 of 21 shots, a downturn that coincided with the Devils getting clobbered by North Carolina in the regular season finale, falling to Florida State in the ACC semifinals and losing to Lehigh in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Dawkins enrolled at Duke a year early, so perhaps sitting out a year would help him find the consistency he has lacked in college. Regardless, we won't find out until the fall what he decides to do.
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