By Jenna Baxter
For as long as Fred Dukes can recall, basketball has been a part of his life. Fred, or as some know him, “Slim” or “Freddie,” grew up in Pottstown, Pa. and has memories of playing many sports with his friends.
He was on teams for baseball, lacrosse, soccer, football and basketball.
Basketball became Fred’s favorite sport while watching his dad coach the Cheney University men’s basketball team. Fred looks up to his dad as a role model and strives to be like him.
“Watching my dad coach inspired me to stick with basketball and make it the main sport that I played,” he said.
Even though he has had a basketball in his hand since he was five, it did not have a big impact on his life until he started playing for KU in 2013.
He came to KU after graduating from the Community College of Philadelphia.
At CCP, Dukes was a starting member of the basketball team and described his experience there as a good start to work on his game and become a better player.
Fred came to KU knowing that he would be a member of the basketball team and describes it as a “learning experience.”
In fall 2015, Fred was offered an assistant coaching position on the KU men’s basketball team.
“It was a moment in time where I felt blessed and excited to start a new challenge in my life,” he said.
Fred’s dream job is to be a coach for an NBA team, so he knew he had to take advantage of the
opportunity that he was offered.
He described his opportunity on the coaching staff as an amazing experience, as he got to watch and help guide the team make it to the sweet 16 of the DII NCAA tournament.
“I could never have imagined that I would be part of such an amazing team,” he said.
“I am so thankful that I got the chance to work with them.”
Dukes plans to use the knowledge he learned from working on the team this year in his future.
“Grad school is my next step,” he said. “I won’t stop working until I reach my goal.”
In the meantime, Dukes is focusing on graduating and enjoying the rest of spring semester that will soon come to an end.