Andre Dawkins did not look happy Thursday night despite his Blue Devils winning a big ACC game.
Dawkins, the freshman come-early following the transfer of Elliott Williams and NBA defection of Gerald Henderson, started the season on a tear. Unfortunately for him and Duke, things haven't been as great since the death of his sister in early December.
On Thursday, Dawkins watched his teammates dismantle Georgia Tech, and despite leading by more than 20, he never once entered the game.
In fact, walk-on Jordan Davidson played, even in the first half while the game was still close. Dawkins didn't see the court.
Naturally, many Duke fans have been scratching their heads wondering why the freshman hasn't seen much if any playing time lately. Those thoughts were exacerbated Thursday with Dawkins second "did not play" registered.
As is typical this time of year, Mike Krzyzewski's "refusal" to use his bench has been tossed around to explain this.
Many seem to be hinting that Dawkins is so unhappy that he may even transfer at the end of the season. What they base that on I have no idea. Perhaps it is because he looked unhappy every time he was shown on TV.
I've read posts on message boards that even insinuate that the Duke coaching staff lured or lied to Dawkins to get him to enroll at Duke a season early, only to sit him.
Those notions are not only laughable but truly uninformed.
Dawkins chose to come to Duke a year early. Krzyzewski and his staff never asked him to do so.
He and his father made the choice when they noticed how the Blue Devils would be lacking backcourt depth. It was Dawkins who initiated the contact to determine if such a move was feasible.
Had the coaching staff lied and said he would be an immediate and certain impact player if he came this season, I could see a point to the rumors. But that simply is not the case.
Dawkins knew coming in that his playing time was not something guaranteed. That is never the case at Duke.
I heard Dawkins say as much in an interview with a local Raleigh radio station prior to the season. He merely came early because he felt like he could help.
He knew that he may play very little, or as was the case Thursday, none at all.
That being said, he is a competitor and no competitor wants to sit. So it is not unreasonable to believe he was upset by not playing in a 20 point blow out.
However, those same people who claim he was misinformed and lured here by the staff seem to be ignoring the explanation that he isn't and hasn't been practicing well.
Krzyzewski said as much during his weekly TV Show Inside Duke Basketball with Mike Krzyzewski. ESPN announcer Jay Bilas also brought up Dawkins' poor practices during Thursday night's game.
If you've watched and read about the Duke program under Krzyzewski you know that players who don't practice well don't play.
So, if Dawkins truly isn't practicing well for whatever reason, he isn't going to play. That doesn't mean Duke fans should fear he will transfer because of it.
I'm certain that the coaches and fellow players will speak with him, encourage him, and he will be just fine in a Duke uniform for the next three years.
That isn't to say he will never transfer, but I personally don't see him as that type of kid.
Which brings up an important factor to remember: He still is a kid with a lot to learn. No one, not even Duke fans, can expect him to learn everything over night or in the course of only one season.
So let the kid learn, let him grow, and for God's sakes enough with the ridiculous rumors. Save those for when you have some facts to back them up.
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