By Brian Paglia
Former Morrow boys basketball player Tony Dukes will have his No. 5 jersey retired tonight at halftime of the 7:30 p.m. game of the Morrow Mustangs Classic tournament.
"It means a lot," Dukes said. "All the hard work throughout the years paid off."
Dukes, a sophomore at USC-Upstate, finished his career at Morrow as the second all-time leading scorer in school history. He holds the school record for three-pointers in a season (69) and career (139).
As a senior in 2008-09, he averaged 20.4 points per game on his way to being named Clayton County player of the year by the Clayton News Daily/Henry Daily Herald.
Dukes played a season of junior college basketball at Atlanta Metro College coming out of Morrow. He was the second-leading scorer in the conference with 18.6 points per game and was a Region 17 All-America nominee.
Now, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound guard is enjoying his transition into Division I basketball.
"The competition is really stiff," Dukes said.
"I enjoy the traveling, playing against the good competition. ... You just improve so much. It's a real good experience."
Dukes has had his ups and downs this season. In his last game against East Carolina, Dukes struggled, scoring just two points on 1-for-7 shooting before fouling out. But he's also showed promise, like his 19-point performance at Virginia when he went 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.
For the season, Dukes is averaging 8.2 points per game, two assists per game and is making 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts.
"I've learned a lot ever since I've been here," Dukes said.
"The coaches have taught me a whole lot of stuff that I haven't really had in my game both offensively and defensively.
You really can't just play off talent at this level. You have to be smart and work together as a team."