Tell everyone about yourself?
I am Kahlil Dukes, I am a fourteen year old freshman at Capital Prep in Hartford, Connecticut. I strive to be the best basketball player I can be and I take pride in putting work in the gym, classroom, and hopefully seeing it pay off when grades come out and when its time to perform on the basketball court. I been playing basketball since I was born and I made my first basket at the age of three. I play AAU for the Connecticut Basketball Club (CBC) and of course my high school, Capital Prep.
I lead the state in scoring this year (29.1ppg) and all freshman in the nation. I got first team All State honors recently and I got first team all conference. So hopefully, I get a state championship next year. My plan is to make it to the NBA and then its a new beginning. Then hopefully I have Hall of Fame dreams and more.
What was your best game?
My best game for me this year was probably against Windham Tech in Willimantic, Connecticut. I finish the game with 34 points and 12 assists, and a few steals I remember. It was a team effort though because my teammates finished the best all season that night, and two other players had over 20 points. We won 112-104 I think and that was our last season game before the playoffs.
How does it feel to be All-State as a freshman?
All State as a freshman feels real good. All year I had doubters and criticism that I had to manage and play through. I also had a lot of expectations for myself that I set to reach, and other people had expectations for me as well. Somehow I found it in myself to lead our team to the state tournament quarter finals as a freshman and lead the state in scoring. I finish the season w/ 669 points (29.1ppg) and I average 3 assists a game. I faced a lot of box and ones and different defenses all season, in the quarter finals I actually faced a 1-1-3 which I never seen or heard of. But really I just wanted to learn as much as I could, play every game like it was my last because I wanted to be remembered, and now, I can call myself an All Stater.
Why are sports/education important to you?
Education and sports are important to me because they both help me eventually become a professional at what I am blessed at, and that's basketball. Without education, you cannot make it to college. Without college you cannot make the money you need to live a dream. And without money, you cant live at all. Money rules the world, so I try to stay up on my grades and stay in the gym working on my game to get that big time scholarship I am after. Right now my GPA is 3.5 so I'm trying to maintain that or keep it somewhere around there so that I am not nervous when it comes to SATs. And as far as basketball, all I got to do is keep the mentality I have and everything hopefully will go the way I planned. I also pray a lot for those two things to be successful so I guess that's why I'm doing so well so far in my high school career. Just got to keep it going, never sleep, consistency was my favorite word my whole freshman year and it always will be.
What can you do to make yourself a better point guard?
Well to make myself a better point guard I could do a list of things:
1) I could surround myself by a group of guys who are great point guards or great models as point guards to look up to.
2) I could work HARDER on the fundamentals that are to be mastered by a point guard and focus on those for a few months to a year.
3) I could learn from a premier point guard coach. Like a Calipari (Kentucky Head Coach) or a Coach K (Duke). I also believe more in myself, potentially speaking. So I think the work I can push myself to put in will also better the outcome of becoming a better point guard. And simply learning from mistakes I make on the basketball court, and being a vocal leader.
What is your dream college?
I don't necessarily have a dream college but I am considering Duke, UNC, UConn, and Syracuse for big time. For little school but big conference I'd like to go to Baylor, Marquette, Florida, Butler or UCLA. For me its about the coach, basketball history or tradition of the school, and if I'm gonna be able to come into the system and play early. Other then that, I still need to do a little more research on schools and stuff like majoring. I think I wanna major in marketing, right now I'm considering that. But I still have a lot of time so we'll see.
What advice can you give other student-athletes?
Well for other student athletes, I can only say do what you gotta do and take pride in what you do. I think a lot of players get too big headed, too cocky, too satisfied, and too irresponsible. Sometimes I am even some of those but I try not to be and I have a lot of friends, family, and coaches that help me with being humble and things like that. As an athlete you have to understand that there two things, obstacles and competition.
Obstacles are the bad part, competition is the good part. Playing against someone who is trying to make it to the same place as you is great. There's no reason to be scared or worried that they might show you off. Its a game, somebody wins and somebody loses. You have to have a certain mentality, swagger, and personality about yourself. Go hard in every practice, game, and be smart in the classroom and on the court. Knowledge does anybody well no matter what sport you play or what you do. Try to learn from mistakes. Try to be the best player, student, and person you can be. It is a privilege to play sports, just enjoy yourself and have fun. Meet new people but be careful. Some people you can't trust. If your really talented, some people will try and trick you. Its a dirty game, and its a business. You just got to be smart with everything you do, say, wear, and who you hang around. When its time to perform on the court, field, gridiron, or whatever, then put on a show. When your doing work and you don't feel like it, just remember your trying to make it. Get it done, and do what you gotta do, and you will be successful as a student athlete no matter what sport you play.
Send a shout out to SoSportz:
Shoutout to SoSportz for supporting me all season during my freshman year. Definitely a good program and nice to meet new kids and athletes with the same dreams as us all and be one nation trying to make it to the next level playing sports for a living. Thanks.