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Senior guard Andre Dawkins will return to Duke program next season

Apr 11, 2013, 7:05 PM EDT

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.

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