spt-110313-duke-dawkins_standard

Senior guard Andre Dawkins will return to Duke program next season

3 Comments

While there was doubt in some circles that 6-4 shooting guard Andre Dawkins would ever play another game in a Duke uniform after redshirting this season, the senior will return to the court for the Blue Devils in 2013-14.

Dawkins tweeted the decision Thursday afternoon, also noting that he will switch his jersey number from 20 to 34.

As a junior Dawkins averaged 8.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in just over 22 minutes of action per contest, shooting 40% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. With the Blue Devils losing Seth Curry’s perimeter shooting (as well as that of Ryan Kelly) it certainly doesn’t hurt to have another shooter in the rotation.

Dawkins’ older sister tragically passed away in a car accident on December 5, 2009, and according to his father Andre never had time to grieve.

“He’s dealt with a lot,” Andre Dawkins Sr. said. “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.”

That ultimately led to the decision to redshirt, with Dawkins not even practicing with the team during his off year.

Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton will return next season, and the addition of shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Rodney Hood (SEC All-Freshman Team selection in his lone season at Mississippi State) will only help Duke on the perimeter.

Duke also welcomes two of the top small forwards in the 2013 class in Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye. The big question mark for the Blue Devils is how they go about accounting for the graduation of Kelly and Plumlee.

There should be no such questions about Duke on the perimeter, and that was the case even before Dawkins announced his return to the program.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

No. 14 West Virginia takes care of No. 15 Baylor

West Virginia forward Devin Williams (41) dunks the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Feb, 6, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson
Leave a comment

Not exactly noted for their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, No. 14 West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12 thanks in part to their perimeter shooting. The Mountaineers shot 7-for-14 from three and 49.1 percent from the field in a 80-69 win over No. 15 Baylor that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe.

Bob Huggins’ team led by as much as 19 in the second half, and the way in which they did it is what makes the win so impressive. “Press Virginia” yielded just ten Baylor turnovers, but that low number didn’t matter much thanks to West Virginia’s execution offensively.

They found quality looks against Baylor’s 1-1-3 zone in the first half and made them at a good clip, forcing Scott Drew to switch to man-to-man. That change didn’t do much to slow down West Virginia either, as Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and sixth man Jaysean Paige added 17 off the bench. And with Devin Williams chipping in with 16 points and seven boards in the post, outplaying Baylor’s Rico Gathers Sr. (five points, seven rebounds), West Virginia grabbed control of the game in the first half and did not relinquish it.

The usual formula for West Virginia offensively is to attack the offensive glass, as their offensive rebounding percentage (43 percent) is tops in the country. “Their best offense is a missed shot” is a familiar refrain heard when people discuss the Mountaineers, who entered the game shooting just over 30 percent from three.

They didn’t need to lean on those second chances as heavily as they normally do Saturday night, not only because of the improved accuracy but also the improved work in finding shots. The ball moved against the Baylor defense and so did the players, resulting in an offensive attack that proved tougher for the visiting Bears to stop that one would expect given the statistics entering the game.

West Virginia was already established as a contender in the Big 12, but thanks to their win Saturday night the Mountaineers are the current pace setters. With a showdown at No. 7 Kansas set for Tuesday night, this was a big win for Bob Huggins’ team to get. And with it coming in spite of a low turnover (forced) count, this should only help West Virginia in the confidence department moving forward.

No. 22 Indiana falls at Penn State

Penn State's Shep Garner (33) moves towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in State College, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
(AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
Leave a comment

Brendan Taylor scored 24 points to lead Penn State to a 68-63 upset of No. 22 Indiana on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions were 2-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend. Indiana? They were 9-1 and tied for first in the conference. It’s the second loss in four games for the Hoosiers following a 7-0 start to Big Ten play, a fact made all the more concerning by the fact that their league schedule is finally about to get difficult.

The Hoosiers play No. 5 Iowa at home and No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing next week. The following week they get No. 18 Purdue at home. In the final week of the regular season, Indiana squares off with No. 5 Iowa on the road and close the regular season with a visit from No. 4 Maryland.

That’s a lot of good teams that the Hoosiers to close out the year.

The question has been asked since Indiana’s hot start to league play: Are they for real? Did the Hoosiers really somehow turn things around defensively, or was that winning streak simply a by-product of their schedule?

The truth is that it was probably a combination of both. Calling them a fraud would be unjust — if you watched those games, there wasn’t much fluky about them; Indiana earned the Ws — but it does seem fair to say this is something of a regression to the mean.

They were going to slip up eventually.

And it will totally be forgotten if the Hoosiers can find a way to close the regular season with a winning record in their final seven games.