LaGuardia Student Arthur Dukes Battles Homelessness and Makes Mark on the Basketball Court
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (December 6, 2023) — LaGuardia Community College/CUNY is home to many talented students who find success inside and outside of the classroom.
Arthur Dukes, a Liberal Arts: Math and Science major from Harlem, has his sights set on the basketball court. Arthur is currently the #1 scorer in the country (29.4 ppg) at the Division 3 Junior College level and the #1 scorer in the CUNY as well. In fact, Arthur scored career high 44 points during their game on Dec. 5 against Queensborough Community College.
“I committed to attending LaGuardia in February,” said Arthur, who is the point guard and team captain for the Men’s Red Hawks Basketball team. “I feel like the work I’ve done is definitely paying off and LaGuardia has afforded me an opportunity to reach my dreams of playing at the next level.”
Despite his recent success, Arthur says the past few years have been challenging for him, but he is grateful for the support he’s received at LaGuardia. Arthur is currently participating in the AirBnB program that matches LaGuardia students with AirBnB hosts to help with housing.
“I moved out of my parents’ home last year, so I began to live on my own in the Bronx, where I was evicted during sometime in September,” Arthur said. “I was homeless for about a week before I told anybody. Coach Lockhart then plugged me in with Ms. Rhonda Mouton over at the LaGuardia CARES program. Thank God.”
Arthur says his experience with the Airbnb program has been positive, and he is glad he spoke up when he needed help.
“Obviously it’s nothing like your own place but I’m thankful and blessed to be placed in a position like this, where I have a place to lay, a place to eat etc,” he said. “For any student who might find themselves needing housing, they should not be afraid to speak up. That’s the only way you can get help. I didn’t tell coach lock until a week later, but during that week I was just hesitant and scared to speak up. I didn’t want anybody in my business. As soon as I told my coach it was instant help. He didn’t take any days off until he knew I was situated, and I would always be thankful for him.”
Arthur says the past few years have been some of the hardest years of his life. In addition to being homeless, he also wanted to go to college and play basketball. He was away from basketball for three years prior to this season for personal reasons, but he knew he wanted to get back into it.
“There was a point when I reached out to more than 150 schools and coaches of all divisions, and I didn’t receive a response from any school,” he said. “One day I had a family member named Greg who decided to take me out to an open run where I ran into Mr. Paris Underwood, who’s my assistant coach now.”
Arthur said Mr. Underwood gave him a LaGuardia business card with LaGuardia Men’s Basketball Coach Jarret Lockhart’s number. Arthur decided to call.
“I called the number for some days before I received an answer,” he said. “When I finally called on a Monday afternoon, Coach Lockhart picked up the phone and my heart dropped immediately because I was anxious, nervous, scared in a way.”
Arthur said this was his first time getting in contact with a college coach in almost a two-year span.
“Coach Lockhart and I spoke for five minutes, and those five minutes changed my life,” Arthur said. “He invited me to a workout, and he’s never left my side since. That’s what made me commit to LaGuardia Community College. He was the only one willing to give me a chance. Thank God.”
Coach Lockhart says Arthur is driven to succeed against all odds.
“Arthur has persevered through some personal hardships in his young life, which has kept him humble but shaped his journey here to LaGuardia,” Lockhart said. “Everything he is accomplishing now he deserves because he’s worked so hard for it. He is a true leader and a joy to coach.”
Coach Lockhart said Arthur is a main contributor to the spirit of the Red Hawks Basketball team. “He leads on and off the court and is a great example for his teammates,” said Coach Lockhart. “He is respectful and extremely giving with his time. Arthur is the true definition of a student-athlete.”
Arthur is also thankful to his girlfriend Imani for helping him get through his darkest days.
“Times where I didn’t want to play basketball, she was there holding me up every minute of the day just keeping me motivated. I am very blessed to have her in my life.”
Arthur says he hopes to continue in sports after graduating from LaGuardia.
“My goals for the future would be to reach the highest level of basketball,” he said. “No matter if it’s overseas or even the NBA, God willing. I always wanted to pursue a career in coaching as well, maybe after I’m done playing.”
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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.