Aubrey Dawkins Has The NBA Name But An Amazing Love Of The Game That Will Keep Him Happy Even Outside The NBA

Aubrey Dawkins and dad Johnny
Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Aubrey Dawkins in the Fraport arena in Frankfurt in 2021

On a January afternoon in 2021, the Fraport Skyliners were playing a league game against 2010 Eurochallenge champion BG Goettingen and it was just another normal game, but with closer inspection you could have unearthed some NBA flair. Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson hasn´t played in the NBA, but he played at Auburn where NBA legend Charles Barkley played. Ok so there are guys every weekend who played at well known NCAA schools that have famous NBA alumni, but there were some more distinct NBA connections on the court. Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Aubrey Dawkins were going head to head and they didn´t even know that in 1986 there was a Petur Gudmundsson and Johnny Dawkins sharing the ball for the San Antonio Spurs. The Skyliner Gudmundsson wasn´t related to Petur, but Aubrey is the son of ex NBA guard Johnny Dawkins who had a solid 9 year NBA career averaging 11,0ppg and reached the NCAA final with Duke. Over the years there has been so much NBA flair in the Fraport arena as guys like Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat or a Jose Calderon played there as well as American players like Dorell Wright, Darius Miller or a Casey Jacobsen to name just a few. Well known coaches have also come and gone in the arena with the best known being Ettore Messina. But the two best known guys that have entered the Fraport arena were Michael Jordan in 1990 playing a contest with Steiner Bayreuth against a team from the American military and in 2018 ex NCAA and NBA champion Larry Brown coached Fiat Torino against the Fraport Skyliners in a Eurocup game. The American was very impressed when he heard which legends have graced the floor of the Fraport arena. “I can´t even say that I share the same air with guys like Michael Jordan and Larry Brown. Everybody respects these guys. Hopefully one day I can be somehow remotely be close to the kind of impact they had. It is cool to be able to step in arena´s where legends have been. I feel a special connection when I´m in a arena and know people like that have been there”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. For the time being the NBA is on hold as Aubrey Dawkins is playing overseas for BG Goetingen. Even if Aubrey Dawkins had that NBA connection, his amazing love for the game will keep him happy even if he never reaches the NBA.

Johnny Dawkins and legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke in the 80´s

Aubrey Dawkins during NBA Summer League

         Aubrey Dawkins was born on May 5th, 1995 in Durham, North Carolina. He is the youngest of four children. He was raised there during the time when his dad Johnny was on the Duke(NCAA) coaching staff. His family moved to California in 2008 when Dawkins senior became the coach at Stanford(NCAA). Aubrey Dawkins then attended St Francis high school in Mountain View, California. In his senior year he averaged 18,8ppg and 7,0rpg and made the 2013 All-San Jose Mercury News boys basketball first team along with future NBA player Aaron Gordon. He then decided to do a post graduate year at New Hampton Prep School and averaged 12,3ppg and 3,6rpg. There have been many examples of ex NBA players son´s and how they became success stories or busts and often just coping with the pressure of being able to follow in their foot steps isn´t always the easiest task. But so far the young American Aubrey has carved out a nice professional career and is truly blessed and thankful for always having his dad when he needed him. “There are no words to describe how important my dad has been in my life. He has helped me so much with his approach, outlook and drive. I just try to add what he has given me to my game and life”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. A phrase of his which he likes to mention as seemingly often as a Dennis Schroeder must be thinking “why am I blessed to play with Lebron James” is his love for the game something which can only be traced back to his dad. “I am really blessed for having a great childhood. Being able to be in environments like Duke and Stanford really helped me form this love for the game the same way my dad did. I am so blessed and appreciative for everything that he has done for me”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. Being the son of a former NBA player also brings sweet advantages like being able to mingle with other NBA players. “I have met a ton of NBA legends. It was awesome meeting guys like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Magic Johnson. That is when dreams really come true. I met Kobe twice last at a Nike Skills camp in 2017. It was a life changing moment meeting Kobe. He is one of my hero´s. He is my favorite player after my dad. It was so heart breaking when he died. I had happy moments with him and also got a picture with him”, remembered Aubrey Dawkins.

            He began his NCAA career in 2014 at the University of Michigan where he would play two seasons playing a total of 65 NCAA games. In his freshman season he played 29 games averaging 7.2ppg, 2.2rpg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 43.8%, FT: 87.0%. He scored in double figures in 8 games and showed his first flashes of brilliance scoring 20 points in a win over Illinois and 21 points against Northwestern. But he saved his best for last at the end of the season where he scorched Rutgers for 31 points while dropping 8 three´s. It was the second most points for a Michigan freshman after current Dallas Maverick Trey Burke “That was a surreal moment for me. That is what dreams are about. I was so happy after that game and I proved in that game that I belonged in the NCAA. It was a real confidence builder that I could play. It was a big moment in my career”, stated Aubrey Dawkins. In his second year at Michigan he played 36 games averaging 6.5ppg, 2.5rpg, FGP: 58.6%, 3PT: 44.0%, FT: 72.4%. In his second season he scored in double figures in 10 games including 19 points in a victory over Youngstown and 15 points in a win over N Michigan. ”Playing at Michigan was a huge experience for me. It was my first time playing at a high level in the Big 10. This is what dreams were also made of. I had great teammates and coaches. I loved my time at Michigan and learned a lot there”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. At Michigan he had the great opportunity to be teammates with future NBA player Caris Levert where he honestly stated that Caris got the better of him in one on one battles in practice and also had the incredible opportunity to learn under head coach Jim Beilein. “I didn´t shoot the ball well in high school. When I came to Michigan he helped me with my jump shot very much. He helped my shot become faster and get a more consistent release. He helped me become the shooter I am today. He really helped me lay down the foundation of my game. He also helped me with ball screens, reads and defensive rotations”, said Aubrey Dawkins. Despite putting up good stats in the time he got, his playing time decreased because of guys like Zak Irvin and Duncan Robinson. His dad was named head coach at Central Florida, so it was only fitting that he would join his dad in Florida.

            Dawkins who lists guys like Zion Williamson, RJ Hampton, Jalen Adams and Yogi Ferrell as his toughest foes in the NCAA arrived in Florida with his dad for the 2016-2017 season, but didn´t play until two seasons later, because he had to sit out his first year due to NCAA transfer rules and an injury ended his second year as well. Sitting out two years would be a difficult task for any player and it wasn´t any different for him. “I don´t wish any player to have sit out a season. I felt betrayed, and it was very tough, but I just worked hard during that time and I learned just how much I loved the game. It made me appreciate the game more, because I know the game can be taken away from you at any time. You need to appreciate everything”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. He played 33 games averaging 15.6ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 51.4%, 3PT: 40.3%. He scored in double figures in 29 of 33 games and his best scoring games occurred against Temple where he exploded for 36 points and had 11 boards, 26 points against SMU, 23 points against UConn and 22 points against Missouri and Wichita State. But the game he will never forget was his 32 points in his last NCAA game at the tournament where he had to suffer a 77-76 loss against Duke and couldn´t make his last shot over future NBA player Zion Williamson. “When I look back at that game, I don´t think about the stats, but about the little things that could have won the game. It was tough and beautiful at the same time. It was a story book ending that will hurt forever”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. Having that NCAA experience is something no player will forget, but there aren´t many guys that can say that they played for their dad. “We had a great season and any win alongside my dad was incredible. I will never forget our win at UConn and see the pictures of my dad and I walking back to the locker room smiling. This the kind of moment you always hope for. Our relationship grew that year and we watched each other grow”, commented Aubrey Dawkins. He also had the pleasure of being teammates with current Boston Celtic Tacko Fall who has become somewhat of a cult hero in a very short time. “We spent so much time together. He is 7,6 and anywhere where we went he was always the tallest guy. He had problems going through doors. He is a hilarious guy and jokester and always has a smile on his face. He never says no to pictures and autographs. I´m happy to be able to call him a friend”, added Aubrey Dawkins. In the 2020-2021 season, Tacko Fall had a memorable game for Boston where he nailed a deep three bank shot and drove to the hoop like a guard. “I called him after that game. That was so hilarious. I will always poke fun at him, because he swears that he can shoot the ball”, laughed Aubrey Dawkins.

            The American lists only three players on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore with Jordan, Kobe and Lebron played his rookie season with the Erie BayHawks (NBA G League) playing 37 games averaging  9.3ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 61.2%, 3PT: 35.7%, FT: 86.7%.”It was a different kind of experience. I learned to take care of my body and that everything is on you. How much work you put in reflects on how much you love and appreciate the game. I gave the same dedication to the game like I did in college”, said Aubrey Dawkins. He scored in double figures in 17 games including 22 points against Greensboro and 20 points against Westchester. Despite having that known basketball name, he got no freebies and had to go his own way. “I was just one of the guys. I was just another player that tried to be the best he could. Coach Pannone pushed me and I tried to take as much from him as possible”, stated Aubrey Dawkins. He also saw so many different types of guy´s stories about the NBA and getting to the big show isn´t simple. His teammate Jalen Adams averaged 19,1ppg and didn´t get a call up and now is dominating in France. Seeing something like him doesn´t discourage him about his own NBA dreams and guys not being taken accounted for for their skills. “It is part of life. I can accept it. There are a lot of opportunities overseas. The NBA is only a small portion of the basketball population. I´m happy for the guys that are playing there and living their dream. I can´t stop my dream, but you need to love where you play. My NBA dream is still realistic, but I don´t let it control my life. If the NBA comes calling great, but if not I´m fine with my career in Europe. Many guys can´t do that. It is special for me to play in Europe. I have fun playing and want to play to the best of my abilities”, expressed Aubrey Dawkins.         

            Let´s fast forward to 2021 as Aubrey Dawkins is playing his second professional season in Germany with 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen. He is living in a beautiful part of Germany, but isn´t living in a big city or traveling first class like he might with other organization,s but his humble character has allowed him to fall in love with the club. “It has been fun playing with BG Goettingen and a new experience. I have had no complaints. The organization has treated me great and I have nothing but love for the club”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. Often guys coming over from the States and having to witness total new playing styles, different coaches philosophies, and European players that some can´t get adjusted well, but for Aubrey Dawkins he has needed no real transition period as he belongs to the best players on the team and is a big leader. “For me I always have the same approach to the game which is to love the game. I still have the same routine, listen and learn and continue to become the best player that I can be”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. He isn´t only in love with the game, but also his teammates like English national player Luke Nelson. “Luke is a great player. I couldn´t have a better teammate. He also has a special approach to the game. He makes everyone better and I´m happy to call him a friend”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. Another guard who he has formed a special bond to is young German Nelson Weideman who began his career with FC Bayer Munich. He has been like a mentor for the talented German. “He comes to me at times for advice. I have had different experiences and sometimes he can use a different opinion. I also have asked him for advice and he has given me tips about certain players and how they play something I didn´t see in the states”, expressed Aubrey Dawkins. Another teammates that has stimulated him on and off the court has been ex Alba Berlin cup winner Akeem Vargas who is known as a fierce defender and good shooter and off the court a very intelligent guy. “
We are usually on different teams in practice. I pick up tricks from him. He is a very smart guy with his outlook on the game and life. It is fun to talk to him and pick his brain. He has given me a lot of helpful insight on and off the court. We have had some interesting conversations on the differences between Germany and the states”, added Aubrey Dawkins.

            The last movie that Aubrey Dawkins has watched was Nothing to hide and really enjoyed watching Kobe Bryant as a kid, but who didn´t? He likes watching guys that can shoot and effect the game on multiple levels like Jimmy Butler and Terence Ross. He has been known as a good shooter for a while, but his game encompasses so much more. “My biggest strength is my shooting, but I try to be an overall player and talented scorer. I love team basketball and will do whatever the team needs me to do”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. His shooting continues to be an area where he wants to go from being a very good shooter to an elite one. “It´s all about working hard. I need to always keep the defense on their toes and play smart. I need to be more dynamic, come off screens better and make good ball fakes”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. It isn´t always easy for guys to come from the G-League where defense isn´t mandatory and be able to step in and defend overseas. But Dawkins was lucky that he had Ryan Pannone as a coach in Eire who had had experience coaching in Europe and brought that defensive mentality to Eire. “Coach Ryan helped me a lot and I´m happy with the time I had with him. The defense I learned from him is now coming full circle to use. I need to continue to bring it here and continue to get better”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. Being that allrounder has always been his goal and that hasn´t changed overseas. “I want to continue to be the most complete player that I can be. I want to be able execute anytime when coach says something. I want to have no major holes in my game and maximize my abilities”, stressed Aubrey Dawkins. Great offensive skills and a defensive game that is continuing to mature overseas are helping Aubrey Dawkins to continue to climb the ladder, but he has a third strength that will also continue to aid him to becoming the best which is his unselfishness something that is always loved by coaches overseas. “I focus on team basketball and it´s never about me or my stat line. I want to help my teammates and always see them succeed. I don´t like being selfish, but just want to win”, warned Aubrey Dawkins. If his game will be enough for the NBA one day still needs to be seen, but for now he is content in being in Europe and developing his game further. He may have that NBA name, but he has something that is even greater than that and that is a special love for the game that will always keep him happy if he reaches the big show or not.

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