Kris Dunn is making the smart move to return to Providence College for the 2015-16 basketball season. The Friars point guard has not announced his decision, but Yahoo! Sports, citing NBA sources, is reporting that Dunn will skip the 2015 NBA Draft. The deadline for underclassmen to declare of the draft is Sunday. Once a player declares, there is no going back.
Good for him. Dunn is a fine player and possesses the skills to make it in the NBA. At 6-4, 205 pounds, he has the size to play point guard. In 2014-15 he demonstrated that he can distribute the ball (7.5 assists per game), score (15.6 points per game) and play defense (2.7 steals, 5.5 rebounds per game). NBA scouts began noticing his talent, and his stock rose as the Friars played their way into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Dunn was the Big East co-defensive player of the year, AP honorable mention All-America and CBS Sports third-team All-America. Recently, there has been talk of late lottery or mid-first-round selection in the draft, positions that would swell Dunn’s bank account for sure.
But he is wise to wait another year to go pro. First, he has played only one full season of college basketball. A shoulder injury and two subsequent surgeries in 18 months hindered his play as a freshman (25 games, 27 minutes per game, 5.7 points scoring average) and limited his second year to the first four games, after which he had season-ending surgery.
Second, PC coach Ed Cooley is not going anywhere, and Dunn can benefit from another year in a stable environment. He will have plenty of time to spend in the shark-infested waters of the NBA. Also, there’s something to be said for loyalty. PC stood by Dunn when he was injured; now it’s time for him to stand by PC.
Third, the 2015-16 Friars can be Dunn’s team. He can be the unquestioned leader, just as Bryce Cotton was in 2013-14 and LaDontae Henton was in 2014-15. Henton and center Carson Desrosiers will graduate in a few weeks, along with forward Tyler Harris, who will spend his last year of eligibility elsewhere. Forward Ben Bentil, guard Jalen Lindsey and center Paschal Chukwu will return as sophomores.
Fourth, the road to the NBA is littered with the dashed hopes of 19-year-olds who listened to family members, advisors, friends and hangers-on as they spun tales of glory and riches, left school for the NBA Draft and then dropped to the second round or, worse, weren’t drafted. Can you say Ricky Ledo? If only they had stayed in school for another year.
Here’s hoping the Yahoo Sports report is accurate, and Kris Dunn has steered away from that course.