Dante Cunningham Big East-Bound

Dante Cunningham always had a dream of playing for an ACC school, but in the end the 6-7 senior from D.C. decided that the Big East was the best situation.

Dante Cunningham had always yearned to play at Maryland, but when it came down to it, he figured that Villanova was the best fit.

The 6-7, 215-pound St. John's College (D.C.) senior forward committed to Jay Wright and the Wildcats on Tuesday night despite offers from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, St. John's and George Washington.

``I just felt comfortable at Villanova," Cunningham said. "When I was with the players, I felt like I was already a part of the team."

``It was tough to turn down Maryland," he added. "It was close and it was everything I thought it was going to be, but I weighed my options and there's always something there as good or better than me. You really have to watch your back all the time. That's not a bad thing, but I just thought it was a better situation for me at Villanova."

Cunningham averaged 10 points and 7.5 points per game last season on a loaded team that also featured Villanova-bound swingman Dwayne Anderson, who is spending this season at St. Thomas More (Conn.).

``He's been at St. John's since middle school and he's gotten better every year," St. John's coach Paul Destefano said of Cunningham. "Especially from last year to now. He's really improved in every facet."

``Before, he was just a big kid who was a back-to-the-basket guy," added Destefano. "Now, he's developed and can face-up."

Cunningham plays hard at both ends of the court and does a lot of the little things that are often overlooked. He rebounds, runs the floor and has improved his mid-range jumper of late.

``So many kids these days try to do everything, but Dante is just a very efficient player," Destefano said. ``He's very athletic and really knows how to play. He plays hard all the time."

Cunningham had an impressive summer with D.C. Assault. The only other official visit he took was to Pittsburgh.

``One thing I really like about the campus is that it isn't right in the city, but it's close enough to get there in 15 minutes," Cunningham added. "I didn't want to be right in the city, but I didn't want to be too far away from one, either."

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