He was supposed to be the savior, so to speak, of the Providence College Men’s Basketball program, a program that has done nothing but underachieve and has been in a rebuilding stage for the past hand full of years. Kris Dunn, a New London, Connecticut native and a 2012 McDonald’s High School All-American, was the 23rd overall rated prospect by ESPN and second overall prospect at the point guard position coming out of high school.
Providence fans were buzzing with excitement for this past season in anticipation of adding Dunn and fellow recruit and Rhode Islander Ricky Ledo to a team that already had Vincent Council, Bryce Cotton, Kadeem Batts, and LaDontae Henton. That is, until it became known that Dunn would need shoulder surgery during the summer after his senior year, pushing his season debut with the Friars back into December and before Ledo was officially ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Two vital members of Ed Cooley’s 2012 recruiting class, which was ranked sixth in the nation, were hit with major blows before the season even started.
The Friars tread water early in the season with the absence of their two prize recruits, as it became quite clear that this too would be a rebuilding year with Providence not having the luxury of just showing up and winning on talent alone, as some thought they’d be able to do coming into this season.
As for Dunn, he continued to rehab hard, anxious to get back on the court and get his first taste of college basketball. On December 18, Dunn finally got his chance, storming onto the scene with 13 assists in a 79-45 win over Colgate at the Dunk.
However, Dunn’s season didn’t go as well as his college debut did. Dunn proved that for any player coming out of high school, it’s a huge step from there to the Big East, arguably the best conference in the country up until the recent debacle. While remaining a consistent juggernaut defensively throughout the season, Dunn experienced clear growing pains offensively. At times, it was obvious that Dunn was getting down on himself, becoming frustrated with his play out on the court. For most Friar fans, however, his potential was imminent.
After struggling through a good portion of the season, Friartown finally got a glimpse of Dunn’s full arsenal in the first round of the NIT. In a 75-66 win over Charlotte, Dunn filled up the stat sheet, posting 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and four steals. With that Charlotte performance, it felt like Dunn had finally arrived.
Dunn’s freshman year was one that involved growing pains, in addition to shaking off some cobwebs from his surgery, but overall, a successful first season for the second overall rated point guard in the 2012 class. With Council graduating, Dunn, who is a tremendous passer, will take over the reigns at the point next season for the Friars.
Freshman year was tough at times for Dunn, but he’ll undoubtedly come back with confidence next season. Dunn gave us a glimpse of just how good he can be in the first round of the NIT, and if he can play like that consistently, he’ll be just fine.