Dunn appears to be done at Arizona

For months speculation has raged about whether or not Chris Dunn would rejoin the Arizona basketball team after being ruled academically ineligible. Dunn enrolled at Pima Community College in hopes of returning for the spring semester, but now it seems as if that move will prove to be moot.

Sources close to the program indicated early in the week that the chance of Dunn returning to the program was remote and today those same sources confirmed that Dunn would not be welcomed back to the team regardless of his academic progress at Pima. KGUN-TV further confirmed those reports Thursday night.

We've heard that Dunn had not been in contact with the coaching staff in weeks, further worsening an already tense situation. The Wildcat staff was already upset that Dunn flunked out of school despite being given every opportunity to remain academically eligible. Dunn remained home during road trips last season and took summer school classes, but did not make the necessary academic progress needed to remain enrolled in the University of Arizona.

With the addition of Ivan Radenovic the need for Chris Dunn's services was lessened. The Cats will add the Serbian big man on Saturday, giving them much needed depth on the inside. Some wondered if Dunn would be welcomed back after the injury to Isaiah Fox, but Radenovic's presence apparently ended any chance of the redshirt freshman's return.

If Dunn is academically eligible, and as of now his grades from Pima have (not?) been reported, the Wildcats would still have a scholarship available. The Cats have just nine scholarship players and only three recruits signed to national letters of intent, but are still pursuing big men Davis Nwankwo and Robert Rothbart. By ending ties with Dunn, the Wildcats have one remaining scholarship that could be used next season.

This ends a wild ride for the forward. Dunn was lightly recruited until March of 2002 when the Wildcat staff stumbled upon him while playing in the NCAA Tournament in Albuquerque. Dunn went largely unnoticed playing in Hobbs, New Mexico, and had just a handful of offers to small programs. Wildcat assistant Jim Rosborough jokingly asked local coaches if they knew any 6-8 forwards. Rosborough was turned on to Dunn, who quickly committed.

Dunn made an impact at practice at Arizona. Carrying a lean frame, he was redshirted, but his practice performances drew rave reviews. In fact, his play was part of the reason that forward Dennis Latimore transferred to Notre Dame.

During the spring semester, the Wildcat coaching staff saw that Dunn was struggling academically and did not allow him to accompany the team on road trips so that he could further concentrate on his studies. Dunn faltered during the spring semester but could have remained eligible with a strong performance in summer school. However, once again Dunn failed to meet his responsibilities in the classroom.

Dunn was originally slated to play for Cochise College in Douglas with hopes of returning to Arizona after completing his associate's degree, but opted to attend Pima at the last minute. By going to Pima Dunn had hoped to remain close to the program and he had a chance at getting eligible by December.

Dunn remained optimistic about rejoining the team as late as Wednesday night when he attended the Wildcats' game against Saint Mary's. Dunn was watching the game wearing an Arizona letterman's jacket.

Dunn could not be reached for comment on Thursday night and no official word has come from the University.

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