Kris Dunn is one of the best guards in America. He’s a Naismith favorite, and he will almost assuredly be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft. Heck, he might have been that last year –only Dunn, 21, knew he wasn’t ready.
“That was all Kris,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Kris wants to come back to graduate. Kris, to his credit, said, ‘I don’t just want to be a draft pick. I want to be an NBA player. I got a long way to go to do that. I got to continue to work on my skill set, work on my strength, work on shooting, work on ball-handling.’ So give him credit for knowing that he wasn’t ready (despite) what all the other people are saying.”
He sure looks ready. Dunn is averaging 16.4 points, 6.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game for Providence (20-9) and has been perhaps the most complete player in America.
Even more impressive, Dunn has dominated against a variety of defenses this year.
“I think right now we’re as battle-tested as ever,” Cooley said. “We watch a lot of film. When our other guys are able to make some perimeter shots, (it helps because) everybody loads up the box on him. There’s no illegal defense in college basketball. So everybody tries to load up the box, put two or three to the ball, and (our) other players – when they’re playing confident, when they’re playing well – we’re really, really hard to beat. Hopefully we’ve seen every imaginable defense (against) Kris and Ben (Bentil). The younger guys are growing up. Hopefully now that we’re in a rhythm, we can make some perimeter shots.”
DA, who has seen Dunn play in person, marvels at how much faster and more explosive he looks on the court than on film. Cooley agreed.
“You really don’t realize how big he is,” Cooley said of the 6-4, 220-pounder. “He’s got great size, really good length. He’s one of the few guys that I’ve coached who can dictate both ends of the floor. Defensively, I think he’s one of the best defenders I’ve ever been around. He has natural instincts. He has really, really quick hands. He can change the game either offensively or defensively. I think his game will translate better with more space and guys around the floor that are shot-makers. So I think the next level for him could be really exciting because you can’t flood the box the way they do now in college.”
Providence, which started 17-3, had lost six of nine. The Friars host Creighton (18-11, 9-7) on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.
“We’re locked in,” Cooley said. “We’re locked and loaded.”