Andre Dawkins could be preparing for the prom.


Andre Dawkins could be preparing for the prom.

Instead, he’s having the time of his life in another kind of big dance.

The 18-year-old finished high school early to get a jump start at Duke. After playing the season with a heavy heart, he’s hoping to continue providing an offensive spark off the bench in the Final Four.

“It’s been a lot of fun, a long journey for the whole season,” Dawkins said. “But this is what we looked forward to from Day 1.”

He hit two clutch 3-pointers in the South Regional final victory against Baylor and will be ready if his number is called when the Blue Devils (33-5) play West Virginia (31-6) on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

“I don’t really know if it has hit me yet,” Dawkins said. “Maybe walking onto the court at (Houston’s Reliant Stadium) and just seeing all those seats. It was kind of like, ‘Wow, this is the big time right here.”’

The teenager’s trip to the Final Four has capped a tumultuous, emotion-filled season for the freshman, who might be the best pure shooter on Duke’s roster.

After not taking a shot in a combined seven minutes in his previous two NCAA tournament games, he knocked down two 3s against Baylor—including one in the final minute of the first half that swung momentum back to the Blue Devils and helped propel them to their first Final Four since 2004.