Cunningham Pledges to Sun Devils

2009 prospect Jarred Cunningham wanted to commit before his junior season has begun. The 6-3 165 point guard planned to take several unofficial visits before making a decision. ASU was one of his first stops, and the four-star prospect saw all he needed to see to pull the trigger and join the maroon and gold on Wednesday Night. We talked to the San Leandro (Calif.) standout following his decision.

"After the visit (which took place last weekend) I just decided that Arizona State was the best place for me, so I committed," said Jarred Cunningham who's nationally ranked by Scout.com eighth in position. "The coaches and the style of play are probably the biggest reasons why I feel that this is the best place for me. It has always been a dream of mine to play in the Pac-10, and Arizona State is like an hour and 30 minutes flight from home."

After his visit and prior to his commitment, Cunningham was quoted saying that he favored San Diego State along with the maroon and gold. The guard had planned to visit Washington State and Gonzaga this weekend and Cal the following weekend, and make his pledge not before a visit to the hometown Golden Bears.

During his visit, Cunningham was hosted by James Harden and Ty Abbott. He enjoyed the tour of the campus, watching practice and just hanging out with the players and coaches. "The thing that impressed me the most was how caring and supportive the coaches are. They really made me feel like they wanted me to be part of the Sun Devil family," he remarked. "I really liked hanging out with James and Ty and I talked to them after the visit too….when I watched practice I really liked watching the offense, how easy it is to get an open shot. I also like how they set screens."

In terms of the style of play, Cunningham mentioned how he was impressed with the big guards in Sendek's system, how they run the point, distribute the ball and score easily on the back door cuts. "I saw how he played some teams early on and I really liked how he played them," he said.

As a sophomore Cunningham averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He made a name for himself in the AAU circuit staring for the Bay Area Hoosiers. With each passing tournament, his exposure has grown as fast as the list of schools recruiting him. ASU was one of the schools that was part of that trend, as the started recruiting him in earnest last July.

In an interview during that month, Devils Digest talked to Cunningham's AAU Coach Craig Booth, to get some perspective on the guard'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.

Cunningham is the second know commitment in the 2009 class and joins Trent Lockett who also committed just days after his own unofficial visit to Tempe two weekends ago.

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