Friar Basketball

Kris Dunn’s Unique Path

Dunn High School

Nearly four years ago Kris Dunn took a chance on Ed Cooley.

Four years later he’s betting on himself.

In many ways 2015 was much like 2011 for Dunn. In a span of a few months in 2011, he went from a virtual unknown to one of the country’s hottest prep prospects the summer before his senior year at New London High School.

Prior to this season Dunn’s name had seemingly fallen off the NBA radar thanks to a pair of shoulder surgeries, but by season’s end he was considered a lock for the first round and a potential lottery pick — his stock rising as rapidly as it had in high school.

Dunn has always done things a little differently. Prior to his arrival at Providence Ed Cooley told Friarbasketball, “It takes a courageous kid to come in and help you try to build a program.”

It wasn’t courage as much as a gigantic leap of faith for Dunn when he committed to Providence in the summer of 2011. The program was coming off of one of its lowest points, Cooley had never been a high major head coach, and by that summer Dunn had his choice of virtually any college in the country.

Yes, the relationship with Cooley had been established previously, but as we’ve seen more recently with the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Abdul Malik Abu, and Kaleb Joseph, even the power of Cooley’s personality and his persistence on the recruiting trail are quite often not enough to overcome the glamour offered by college basketball’s elite.

Dunn took a shot on Cooley. Then he returned to New London after rumblings of him heading to prep school. From there it was onto the McDonald’s All American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic and one of the more highly anticipated careers in Providence history.

Not one, but two seasons were cut short by injury, leaving some in Providence to wonder if they’d ever see the Dunn that was rated one of the top 25 players in the country out of high school.

We saw him, and a whole lot more, this past season.

Few would have found fault had Dunn parlayed his Co-Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards into an NBA contract this summer (in fact, many national writers have questioned if he has much to gain by returning), but Dunn once again took his own path, with faith in himself, his shoulder, his coach, and Providence — and faith that this past season was only a glimpse of what is to come.

His improvement from November to February was startling, and with a healthy summer of continued improvement, Providence will have the rarest of talents on Smith Hill: a National Player of the Year candidate who has taken a unique, and at times heart-breaking, path to the top of college basketball.

And we all get to follow along for one more year.

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar



  1. John Thomas Nailor

    April 25, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Good Luck Chris.

  2. Joe Monaghan Jr.

    April 25, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Nothing but the best Chris. Quality decision on staying one more year. Work even harder this offseason , continue to lead, and be a lottery pick in 2016 ! You can be as good as you make yourself !

  3. Jeremy Kirkpatrick

    April 25, 2015 at 2:34 am

    Fantastic piece.

  4. Keith Buohl

    April 25, 2015 at 9:29 am

    LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn both will have a special place in the hearts of all of Friartown forever !

  5. Richard Kells

    April 26, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Good Luck Chris You will be better from this

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