I talked a few weeks ago about how dreadfully thin Duke is right now at the guard position. It's enough of a problem that Duke might actually end up being a bubble team, and they certainly don't seem like a plausible ACC contender. But suddenly there might be a ray of hope, with numerous sources reporting that 2010 recruit Andre Dawkins might actually be able to enroll this fall and be ready to play the 2009-10 season. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports is actually reporting that it's basically a done deal, although I haven't seen that confirmed.
So what type of player is Dawkins? ESPN's Paul Bincardi compares him to J.J. Redick and Trajan Langdon. He may or not be another Trajan Langdon, but the Redick comparison seems like a forced situation by an author who assumes that most of his readers don't remember any players much beyond three or four years ago. Dawkins is a very good shooter, but he's not yet nearly in the class of the shooter that Redick was. But at the same time, Dawkins is more athletic, and athleticism is sorely needed at a Duke program reeling from the loss of Gerald Henderson and Elliot Williams.
And beyond that, the Blue Devils actually just need depth. With Seth Curry forced to sit out the season due to the transfer from Liberty, the only guards on Duke's roster right now are Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer. They have two guards. Seriously. If we move up to the small forward position, the only scholarship small forward is Kyle Singler. Singler can certainly play some shooting guard if he has to, but that just makes Duke really thin on the inside, and also very slow and unathletic. You'd rather play Singler as an athletic power forward than as a slow shooting guard, but Coach K might not have a ton of choices.
If Dawkins comes then he provides depth at both guard positions. Singler will now be more free to play inside, and Duke suddenly becomes a fairly dangerous offensive team that will bring a variety of weapons. Dawkins is also a quality perimeter defender, and Duke should be an above average defensive team again. Dawkins won't make Duke an ACC contender, but if he's as good as the hype then Duke could already be off the 2010 Tournament bubble.
While we'll have to wait a little bit longer for confirmation of the eligibility of Andrew Dawkins, Duke fans certainly aren't waiting that long to celebrate. And if you were wondering just how important this news is to their 2009-10 chances, just look at the celebrations all of their message boards.