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April 29, 2014

Aubrey Dawkins provides athleticism on the wing

Michigan coaches have made a habit of signing players late who contribute immediately, and New Hampton, N.H., Prep's Aubrey Dawkins is the latest looking for the opportunity. The 6-4, 180-pounder joins Kameron Chatman, D.J. Wilson, Ricky Doyle, Austin Hatch and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman in the 2014 class, and he brings a little something different.

Dawkins is an athlete who is still improving in many areas and learning how to turn his athleticism into production. The son of former Duke star and current Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins and a Rivals.com three-star prospect, he'll be asked to do provide some of the finishes Glenn Robinson III did at times and to the "residuals" head coach John Beilein often talked about with Robinson - not necessarily creating his own shot right away, but complementing the pieces around him and knock down some jumpers, get out and run.

Dawkins averaged 18 points per game at Palo Alto, Calif., High School, before prepping at New Hampton under head coach Peter Hutchins, who coached former Wolverine Evan Smotrycz. Dawkins averaged 13 points per game in the extremely competitive NEPSAC prep school conference, where former Wolverines Mitch McGary and Spike Albrecht also spent time. He scored 28 points, notched seven rebounds and three steals in front of the U-M coaches earlier this year at the February National Prep School Invitational.

"The … post-graduate had all parts of his game clicking," NewEnglandRecruitingReport.com reported. "He was hot from behind the arc and athletic in transition, but equally important was the level of energy he was able to provide his team on both ends of the floor."

Dawkins describes himself as a player who 'isn't overly great at anything, but really good at a lot of things.' He's athletic, shoots the ball well, has a high basketball IQ and can guard many positions, an 'unselfish, win at all costs player.'

His energy could help him develop into an outstanding defender, though he still has plenty of areas in which to improve (if he didn't, every high major in the country would be after him). He's still working on his ballhandling skills and his confidence in taking it to the rim, but his shooting has improved dramatically. Whereas late addition Abdur-Rahkman is a slasher and creator (who can also shoot it), Dawkins complements him as a finisher and improving shooter.

"[Beilein] watched me play pick-up ball," Dawkins reported. "Later he said I reminded him a bit of [former Wolverine, now with the New York Knicks] Tim Hardaway Jr."

Cal Poly, College of Charleston, Dayton, Florida Atlantic, Montana, Northeastern, Pepperdine, Rhode Island, St. Mary's, and Utah State were the biggest names recruiting him until Dayton watched him play about a month ago and, shortly after, extended him a scholarship offer. He visited the school after seeing U-M and had a tough decision to make.

"I was surprised, pleasantly surprised," he admitted. "I really liked the coaching staff, a great group of guys. I really got along with the players well. Those are the two big main components."

He found what he was looking for at Michigan, though, and will now be one of seven players with freshman eligibility, joining his fellow incoming frosh and redshirt freshman to be Mark Donnal. U-M has also been courting Nevada transfer Cole Huff, who could visit if the coaching staff decides there's still a need. The 12.3-PPG scorer and 40.3 percent three-point shooter would have to sit out a year before being eligible for two seasons starting in 2015.

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