Forward Quickly Making a Name for Himself

For Jared Cunningham the AAU circuit is working exactly as it should. With each passing tournament, his exposure has grown as fast as the list of schools recruiting him. ASU is one school that is part of that trend, and when Devils Digest talked to the forward about the maroon and gold the interest definitely seem to be mutual in nature.

"They started to recruit me last week," said the 6-9 220 Jared Cunningham. "I talk to Coach Miller everyday, and I also talked to Coach Sendek. So, that's a plus that I get along well with the coaching staff. I think Arizona State is a real good school both academically and basketball wise. I'm gonna go online and get more information about it, but I think it will be a real good opportunity for me. They told me I'm a real high priority for them. If they offered me a scholarship, I would think real hard about going there."

Cunningham, who plays for Hoop Booth stated that he has averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds per AAU tournament game since the beginning of the month. Thus far, he hasn't received any scholarship offers, but does expect those to pour in soon. Along with the Sun Devils, Boston College, St. John's, Clemson, and Illinois round up his top five. One quick look at the list naturally shows no apprehension of playing away from his Lake Oswego home. ASU's is geographically closer than the other programs, and the school carries some other benefits he acknowledged in our interview.

"Playing in Oregon twice a year that's a good thing because my family can come and watch," he explained. "I definitely wanna play in a good league with good competition, and the Pac-10 is obviously a good league." He added that the Oregon schools haven't been showing as much interest as the other programs recruiting him.

Devils Digest also talked to Cunningham's AAU Coach Craig Booth, to get some perspective on the forward's skills. "Jared is a leader and phenomenal player," said Booth. "I coached him since the eighth grade, so I know what kind of potential he has. He has the ability to step outside because he has good range on his jump shot, and also mix it up in the paint. His ability to shoot is his biggest asset, and he has the ability to drive to the basket when a defender plays him tight. That's why the coaches like him – he's versatile and can play both forward positions. We play him more at small forward so we can showcase his shot. Once in a while we'll play him at power forward so we can take advantage of a match-up." Booth also mentioned that Cunningham could improve on his ball handling and passing.

At his current height and weight, Cunningham has a near prefect body to play in college. Booth said that adding weight to his frame isn't important as improving physically. "He'll probably pick up 15-20 pounds when he gets to college," commented Booth. "But you have to remember that most of the coaches like him at small forward, so he really doesn't need to put on more weight, but he does need more strength. He just turned 17 so he has a ways to mature physically. Right now the way he's playing, he's positioning himself beautifully as good prospect."

Booth remarked that he expected Cunningham to create a list of 7-8 schools he'd like to visit by the end of August. For now, both have their sights on the tournament in Vegas this weekend, which will be followed by a tournament in Pennsylvania. Even though he has generated quite a bit of interest in the last few weeks, Cunningham hasn't settled on signing during the early or late period. "I think I'd like to make a decision in the fall or early spring," he said. "I'm gonna visit some schools with my mom, and see what's out there. I want to go a school that has good academics and one that I can get national exposure."

So far, it seems that exposure is one thing that this young man doesn't need to worry about…

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