Andre Dawkins (US Presswire)
Mike Krzyzewski confirmed the decision during his annual summer news conference when asked why he didn't mention Dawkins among the program's rising seniors.
"It's time for him to step away," Krzyzewski told reporters. "It's the right thing. We're doing the right thing."
The statement from Krzyzewski is the most concrete information regarding Dawkins' status since Duke sent out an unusual two-sentence press release in April in response to Internet speculation the sharpshooter had been kicked off the team. The school said Dawkins was part of the program but may redshirt next season, a rarity for a likely starting guard with only one season of eligibility left.
Dawkins' father cleared up that mystery the next day when he told the Raleigh News & Observer that his son has the option to sit out next season to work through lingering grief from the death of his older sister. Lacey Dawkins died at age 21 in a car accident in December 2009 while driving from Columbus, Ohio, to Durham to see Duke play St. John's.
"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."
Dawkins indeed should feel fortunate he's at a program that would give him the option to redshirt even though it could definitely benefit from having 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.
Perhaps the year off will help Duke get more consistency from Dawkins, who averaged 8.4 points and shot 39.2 percent from behind the arc last season but faded badly down the stretch.
Dawkins scored just eight total points in the team's final six games and sank only 3 of 21 shots, a downturn that coincided with his team's late-season slump. The Devils got clobbered by North Carolina in the regular-season finale, fell to Florida State in the ACC semifinals and lost to Lehigh in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Hopefully the time away from basketball will benefit Dawkins. In the meantime, Duke now can begin preparing for life without him next season.
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- Andre Dawkins
- Mike Krzyzewski