Every college head coach needs a spark plug when they first obtain the key's to a collegiate program, especially at the D-I ranks. All it takes is that one coveted player to believe in your philosophy, the direction of the program and most importantly...YOU as a head coach. Once that players commits, it gets the ball rolling where other high level high school talents will start considering and committing to your program also. For legendary Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski that defining player was none other then Washington DC native and current Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins. In 1982, out of Mackin High School in Washington DC, Dawkins was the most coveted prospect in the country. With deadly speed, court vision, handle that represented the DC area playgrounds he grew up on to the fullest and a jumper that would get Steph Curry's nod of approval, Dawkins would make Duke look like the place to be from then on. In the 1986 NCAA Tournament East Regional Finals, against the man child David Robinson and Navy, Dawkins would put on a show. Dawkins would torch Navy with 28 points including a reverse flush on a Navy defender on the fast break. Keep in mind he is only 6'2. Dawkins would go on to become Duke's all-time leading scorer with 2,556 career points, which stood until 2006 when sharpshooter JJ Redick took the top spot. He would also win the Naismith College Player of the Year award and would be drafted 10th overall in the 86 NBA Draft to the San Antonio Spurs. So for all of you young Duke fans who are spoiled year after year expecting the top high school players to join Coach K at Duke, remember to thank Johnny Dawkins.....he started it all.
"You could say that Johnny Dawkins was Coach K's most important recruit, maybe even the savior of the Duke program. Dawkins presence changed everything. He took a chance and it paid off in a big way. He was the first great player in the Coach K era and really helped start the Duke dynasty." - Dick Vitale