Friar Basketball

15 in 40: #6 What Lies Ahead for Kris Dunn


How many times this off-season have you read or heard something like this, “And with Kris Dunn finally healthy, the Providence College Friars have the opportunity…”

Prior to Saturday night’s exhibition game with Rhode Island College, Kris Dunn’s injured shoulder, which held him out of the first nine games of last season, appeared to be a thing of the past. Over a year removed from right shoulder surgery, Dunn was ready to step in as the primary ball handler for Ed Cooley’s 2013-14 Friars. He was staged for a big year.

All of that was placed under serious question at the 10 minute mark of the RIC game.

In a scramble for a loose ball, Kris Dunn found his surgically repaired shoulder underneath an opponent of Rhode Island College. Before Dunn could take the hundred or so steps back to the Providence locker room, panic quickly spread through Friartown. Without knowing the full extent of the injury, many fans were quick to assume the worst for Dunn; “he re-tore his labrum”. Ed Cooley’s post game comments didn’t help ease the worrying…

“We’re just really nervous because it’s the same shoulder that he tore. He’s very, very sore. I’m worried about it.”dunninarticle

For the next two days, both Ed Cooley and fans of Providence were left anxiously awaiting MRI results for Dunn. On Monday night, during the Ed Cooley Radio Show, hosted by John Rooke, Cooley shared that the results of Dunn’s MRI were negative. The negative MRI leaves the 6’4 guard’s status as unclear for Friday’s opening night matchup with Boston College. On a positive note, Cooley went on to say, “We’re very optimistic about him returning and returning soon.”

Regardless of Dunn’s availability for Friday night’s game, there is still plenty of time for Dunn to play a major role on this team this season. Reports on campus had Dunn in street clothes during PC’s practice today, but having a healthy Dunn come Big East time, is much more important than rushing him into the lineup for a non-conference game against BC.

Dunn, a former McDonald’s All-American, labeled by many as a breakout candidate for this season, must overcome the soreness he is currently experiencing, but based on the news that Ed Cooley shared, this doesn’t seem like an injury that will cost Dunn anything more than a handful of games. That is the hope anyway.

In a July 3rd CBS Sports article, Jon Rothstein wrote, “Nearly one year after suffering a shoulder injury that kept him out half of last season, Kris Dunn is ready to take the next step. At 6-4 and 195 pounds, Dunn has developed his body and looks more than capable of having a breakout year. The wiry point guard averaged 5.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists as a freshman — and all those numbers figure to go up this season when he’s a sophomore. Dunn has the tools to be a lock-down defender, and should regularly be assigned to the opponent’s top perimeter scorer.”

Once healthy, Dunn will look to fill the shoes left behind by four year point guard, Vincent Council. Perhaps more important than handling the point guard duties, Dunn will also provide Ed Cooley with a top-tier perimeter defender.

On Big East Media Day, Dunn told the media that the biggest area that he improved upon over the summer was his shooting. Last season, Dunn shot just 39% from the floor, as well a gloomy 69% from the free throw stripe. Aside from remaining healthy, it was clear that he needed to improve his shooting, and according to him he did that.

For now, things remain a waiting a game for Dunn. How soon will he gain comfortability with his shoulder? Only time can tell, but for now, as Ed Cooley always says, “Next man up.”


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