Eight seconds. That’s all a bull rider gets. He has to hang on to the Bull for eight seconds in order to get a score. If he can’t hang on long enough it’s no score. Generally not a lot of time but in the pro bull riding hanging on to a bucking 2,000-pound bull for eight seconds is a long time.
As a Duke substitute in Coach Krzyzewski’s normally short rotations, taking eight seconds to get into the game can be detrimental. Okay, slightly excessive, but Duke relies a lot on its starters and anyone coming off the bench has to stay sharp in order to earn minutes.
A substitute comes into the game cold. Pre-game warm up helps but it could be p to five minutes before he can get on the court unless a starter gets into foul trouble. Either way he has to be ready. This will be Andre Dawkins sophomore season.
Freshman Kyrie Irving will be playing the point, with last years’ scoring revelation, Nolan Smith, joining him in the backcourt. After last year’s championship run it would take quite a lot for Nolan to be benched.
Which means that Dawkins’s contributions will be from the bench as potential ACC preseason player of the year Kyle Singler is back for his senior year (hence no three-guard lineup).
This is not a punishment, nor does it mean Dawkins has inferior talent, far from it he is arguably the best catch and shoot player on the team.
This is a valuable talent playing next to Irving who is very adept at driving to the hoop. Here is the scouting report on the freshman taken from Blue Devil Nation:
“His quickness allows him to get to the basket most any time he wants to. He knows he is the man, so he baits the defence into double teams which frees up his teammates where he hits them on cuts.”
If Irvin can command double teams on the dribble drive, a player like Dawkins roaming the perimeter will benefit greatly. He is a JJ Reddick type shooter with hops like Gerald Henderson. If Dawkins works hard and stays focus he will one day be revered just as much as these two players.
Dawkins’s freshman season was blighted when his older sister, Lacey, was killed in a car accident. Up to that point, Dawkins was averaging 11 points a game in 20 minutes as the only guard off the bench.
"I don't think I would've gotten through my freshman year as well as I did if it wasn't for the help of my coaches,'' he recently said to FanHouse. "Even when things were going bad, I felt, 'I'm not gonna quit.' I'd be quitting on my coaches and my teammates. They're like my brothers. So I felt like they're too close to me for me to give up on them or walk away from them. I love them with all my heart.''
Dawkins saying he will never quit is good news, because normally whenever a college team is loaded, transfers are rife.
Along with Dawkins, Smith, high-scoring Liberty transfer Seth Curry and Irving, Duke will also enlist the help of 4-star-rated freshman point guard Tyler Thornton in the back court for the coming season as well.
Kids these days are not as patient as previous generations. They want everything now. If you want to be an actor, musician or even someone’s best friend, get yourself on a reality program. No one wants to put in the time and be patient like Shane Battier.
Battier came to Duke with a loaded recruiting class but improved yearly until captaining Duke to an NCAA championship his senior year.
This could be Dawkins’s destiny. In a year he could be a starter, running defenders into screens, and letting that sweet stroke go. According to his scouting report, Dawkins needs to work on that mid-range game but with Nolan Smith as a role model he will be fine.
For now this is a new year and a new start. He has tattooed his sister’s name on his wrists, 12-05-09 (date she sadly passed) on the left, and “Lacey” on the right. Losing a loved one is tough, especially a sibling, but let's hope Dawkins honours her in the coming season.