Cook, Dawkins establishing new roles in Duke offense
Duke’s plan to get copious amounts of offense from Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood is going according to schedule.
Entering the Blue Devils’ game with UCLA tonight (7:30 p.m., ESPN) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Parker and Hood have combined to average 40.9 points per game.
With Parker scoring 22 points a game and Hood averaging 18.9, they are the top-scoring pair of teammates in the ACC and No. 5 nationally.
But for No. 8 Duke (8-2) to reach its potential as a team, the need for consistent third and fourth scorers must be filled.
Junior point guard Quinn Cook has shown signs that he could be one of those players with seven consecutive double-figure scoring efforts.
While not as consistent at this point, redshirt senior Andre Dawkins shows potential as well. He is Duke’s top scorer off the bench, averaging 8.6 points per game, and is coming off a season-best 18-point night when the Blue Devils beat Gardner-Webb 85-66 on Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The 6-2 Cook averaged 11.7 points last season, his first as a starter for the Blue Devils. He made 41.6 percent of his shots last season, including 39.3 percent his 3-pointers.
This season, Cook’s average has risen to 14.7 points as his shooting percentage is up to 50.5 percent. He has made 38.6 percent of his 3-pointers.
Cook scored 24 points when Duke beat Michigan 79-69 on Dec. 3 and followed that with 16 points against Gardner-Webb.
One year after running a team that included seniors Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly in the starting lineup, Cook finds himself a veteran player the Blue Devils are counting on.
“It’s kind of like the torch has been passed,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Maturity. Leadership. It’s his team. He’s running his team. He’s done a very good job of that.”
Dawkins’ situation is far more complicated. An established 3-point shooter over the first three years of his Duke career, he sat out last season to receive treatment for the depression caused by the 2009 death of his sister.
He returned to the team last spring and has been working back into playing shape. A lower back injury slowed him in November. But Krzyzewski is pleased with how Dawkins has progressed over the last three weeks.
Coming off the bench to make 4 of 8 3-pointers, and 6 of 10 shots overall against Gardner-Webb, is a sign of his progression.
“Andre played like he’s been practicing,” Krzyzewski said.
As a graduate student, Dawkins’ final exams weren’t as taxing as the underclassmen due to a smaller class load. That allowed him to work with Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski while the team took a 13-day break from games that included last week.
“He and Steve would come in every night or late in the afternoon after our morning workouts and put in extra time,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s paid off. He’s been practicing great.”
Hood, playing his first season for the Blue Devils following his transfer from Mississippi State, said Dawkins can be a key to the team experiencing major success.
“He’s a knock-down shooter but also a veteran guy,” Hood said. “He’s been through this type of season and we need him to be on the court just for his veteran leadership. He’s been through it. He knows how to score the ball, knows how to get open and that makes our job easier as far as scoring the ball and spacing the floor because you can’t leave him.”