After two years of playing junior college basketball, Alvin Cunningham wanted to test the waters and try and make the leap to Division 1. Specifically, he wanted to play for a school that featured the substance and style that Dunk City brings to the table. Well, after exchanging emails with Tyler Schwab, FGCU's director of men's basketball operations, Cunningham enrolled at the university, tried out for the team, and is now a member of the Eagles.
Since he arrived over the summer, he's loving every minute of Dunk City.
"I like the atmosphere, the coaching staff, just my teammates in general. Everything has been great," Cunningham said.
Cunningham played his freshman year of college ball at Linvingstone College in Salisbury NC, and sophomore season at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, TX. Last year, he saw action in 22 games for the Cougars, and averaged only three minutes a game. Having attended Admiral Farragut Academy High School in St. Petersburg, FL, he wanted to attend a universtity much closer to home, while going somewhere that was Division 1. FGCU definitely fits that criteria.
Getting to be a part of a system that fits his strengths is an aspect of Florida Gulf Coast that Cunningham loves. While he probably won't play a major role right away for the Eagles, he fits the bill as an athletic guard who can get to the rim.
"We can play really fast against our opponents. We have a lot of quick players and people who can run the floor and dunk the ball easily," he said.
"Yeah, I can dunk," Cunningham added with a laugh.
FGCU has a lot of depth at the guard position, and it seems unlikely that Cunningham will be a factor, at least not early on. However, because he plays at the same tempo as the other guards, he'll be able to fit in with coach Joe Dooley's system when needed.
Since transferring, Cunningham's experience with the coaching staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Their teaching ability is what sticks out the most to him.
"They've been very influential. They've been teaching us about pinpointing specifics that we need to know," he said. "A lot of learning from a player's standpoint."
As a walk on, he knows that he won't be one of the first options off the bench during the game. That hasn't dappened Cunningham's spirits, though. Regardless of playing status, he is excited to be a part of the FGCU basketball program, and wants to contribute what he can to the university on and off the court by keeping a positive attitude.
"Everyday I have to come in with a positive attitude, and just be ready to play whenever I get called upon," Cunningham said.
While his number might not get called upon very often to start, his passion for the game and his passion for FGCU keeps him fired up, and that has helped him to enjoy his stay in Dunk City.