It’s official. Kris Dunn is returning to Providence College for the 2015-16 basketball season
“I am excited about next season," Dunn said in a statement released by the school Friday afternoon.
A potential lottery pick or probable first-round choice in the 2015 NBA draft as a result of his stellar play last season, Dunn had denied a Yahoo! Sports report, citing NBA sources, that he was skipping the draft. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is Sunday, and Dunn and PC finally confirmed the report.
“I have seen this program accomplish a lot over the last three seasons and I would like to be part of some more success. I really enjoy being around my teammates, coaches and all the friends and family I have in Friartown. Lastly, I am looking forward to continuing my growth, improving as a basketball player and earning my diploma," Dunn said in the statement.
A 6-4, 2-5-pound point guard, Dunn averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 steals in helping the Friars to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. He was the Big East co-player of the year, co-defensive player of the year, AP honorable mention All-America and CBS Sports third-team All-America.
His decision comes with some risk. Shoulder injuries and surgery hampered his first year and limited his second to only four games. Last season was his first full, healthy campaign. If he injures the shoulder again, his stock in the 2016 draft could plummet.
Also, he must continue to improve, especially his outside shooting and his ball handling, but as the leader of the 2015-16 Friars, he will have plenty of opportunity to do so.
Some basketball observers are suggesting that the Friars failing to match their success of the last two seasons will reflect poorly on Dunn. Perhaps, but I suspect that if he has a solid year, NBA front office types will overlook PC’s record. And let’s not forget that while coach Ed Cooley will lose LaDontae Henton, Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris to graduation in May, he has talented underclassmen to assume greater responsibility next season.
“Kris had a very imprssive season and I believe he is the top point guard in the country,” Cooley said in the statement. “He has grown so much as a person and as a basketball player. We are excited that Kris will be part of our team next year and he will have the opportunity to earn his college degree. His ability and leadership will be instrumental to our success.”