After a dominant season, Arthur Dukes Jr. went back to work. Dukes knows success takes time.

“I knew I would be here some day,” Dukes said. “I didn’t know the season would be as big as it was.”

What You Need To Know

  • This past season, Arthur Dukes Jr. averaged 31 points per game — with two 50-point games — and was named CUNY Player of the Year

  • “I’m not afraid to share my story. I’m not afraid to embrace it. I’m not afraid to do any of that because it happened and it happened for a reason,” Dukes said.

  • After graduating from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem, Dukes went to Mohawk Valley Community College, the University of Kansas, Monroe College in the Bronx, all without much success
  • In his first season at LaGuardia Community College, Dukes led the nation in scoring at the DIII junior college level

This past season, the LaGuardia Community College guard averaged 31 points per game, with two 50-point games. He led the nation in scoring at the Division III junior college level, and was named CUNY Player of the Year.

But the 23-year-old is just happy to be playing basketball at all.

“I’m not afraid to share my story. I’m not afraid to embrace it. I’m not afraid to do any of that because it happened, and it happened for a reason,” Dukes said.

His story starts in Harlem, where Dukes graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academy in 2019. From there, he was recruited to play at Mohawk Valley Community College in upstate New York.

“Mohawk Valley was — well, at least I thought it was — a great fit,” Dukes said. “But when I got there, I didn’t see much playing time.”

In March of his first year at Mohawk Valley, COVID hit — so Dukes returned home.

A year later, he transferred to the University of Kansas, the basketball powerhouse, planning to try out for the team. But because of the pandemic, they weren’t accepting walk-ons.

So again, Dukes returned home. He enrolled at Monroe College in the Bronx and tried out, but he didn’t play there either. Instead, he was team manager, loading buses and filming games.

“Anything to be affiliated with the game of basketball I was willing to do,” Dukes said.

Dukes had all but written off playing college basketball.

Then one night, shooting around at an open gym at P.S. 92 in Harlem, his next opportunity found him when someone handed him a business card.

“I called the first number five times — no answer,” Dukes said. “And I decided to give the number a call again, and he picked up the phone.”

“And I told him, ‘come to a workout,’” LaGuardia head coach Jarrett Lockhart said.

“From that day on, coach Lockhart has been everything to me, everything to me,” Dukes said.

“He hasn’t left my side ever since,” Lockhart said.

For Coach Lockhart, Dukes was a blessing. For the past two seasons, he’s been tasked with rebuilding LaGaurdia’s basketball program after it was shut down from 2016 to 2022.

Lockhart has taken Dukes in like a son, even helping him find a new home when he was facing eviction.

“We don’t have a lot of NBA guys coming out of this level, so we have to do things to prepare at a different stage, to get them ready for life,” Lockhart said.

“Coach has been that mentor to me that I’ve never really come across,” Dukes said.

Dukes said his coach has helped him get ready for this next step on the court, and every next step from here on out.

“That’s what basketball can really do,” Dukes said. “It can turn that coach and player status to a family status, and now me and him will forever be connected with each other.”

Dukes is currently weighing several offers from four-year colleges, and says he hopes to make a decision in the next few months.