Aubrey Dawkins surfaced at UCF alongside his father when Johnny took the Knights’ head coaching job. As a young phenom at Michigan, he showed tremendous promise on a team that reached the Final Four.
But injuries soon caught up to him, and even derailed what would have been his first season at UCF. After sitting out 2016-17 due to transfer rules, he then missed all of 2017-2018 with a shoulder injury.
Dawkins came back for what was his redshirt junior season in 2018-2019, and after taking some time to settle into the offense, he developed as a key shooter, hitting 40% from beyond the arc, and averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
Other nagging injuries dogged him into the latter part of the season, yet he saved his best for two of his final four games.
Against Temple, fighting off back spasms, Dawkins dropped a career-high 36 points to go with 11 rebounds in a furious effort to finish off the regular season with a victory:
Then in his final game as a Knight against his father’s alma mater and former coach, Dawkins put together his masterpiece.
32 points, 12/18 FG (5/7 3FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals vs. Duke in NCAA Second Round
It wasn’t his career-high, but it was a masterpiece against the top-ranked team in the nation:
Mike Krzyzewski later said Dawkins was the best player on the floor, and that’s with three lottery picks not named Aubrey Dawkins out there. He was right.
Per 40 Minutes
The question with Aubrey isn’t whether he can do it. As you saw against Duke, he certainly can.
The question is whether he can do what he did against Duke 82 nights a year. Her certainly can shot at the NBA level, but can he do the other things that we saw flashes of against Temple, VCU and Duke: rebound, create, and defend.
Work ethic has never been a question, not should it ever be when you’re Johnny Dawkins’ son. He already has a mature NBA body at 23 years of age. But work ethic can only get you so far in the NBA. You have to be able to bring your A-Game talent night in and night out.
Best-Case Pro Comparison
DeMar DeRozan. A 6-7 2-guard/wing with lights-out shooting ability and solid defensive credentials.