As was first reported by Scout.Friars.com, Kris Dunn energized the Providence fanbase with his Friday afternoon announcement that he would return for his redshirt junior and academic senior season in 2015-16.
"I am excited about next season," Dunn said in a PC press release. "I have seen this program accomplish a lot over the last three seasons and I would like to be part of some more success. I really enjoy being around my teammates, coaches and all the friends and family I have in Friartown. Lastly, I am looking forward to continuing my growth, improving as a basketball player and earning my diploma."
“Kris had a very impressive season and I believe he is the top point guard in the country," Friar Head Coach Ed Cooley said in the release. "He has grown so much as person and as a basketball player. We are excited that Kris will be part of our team next year and he will have the opportunity to earn his college degree. His ability and leadership will be instrumental to our success."
After losing LaDontae Henton, Carson Desrosiers and Tyler Harris to graduation, keeping Dunn was imperative for Providence’s continued success, with a young and somewhat untested nucleus of Paschal Chukwu, Ben Bentil, Jalen Lindsey and Kyron Cartwright returning, along with four touted, but green, incoming freshmen.
Dunn blossomed during the 2014-15 season after being limited by shoulder injuries during his first two collegiate seasons. A McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, he was finally able to flash that talent on a consistent level during the past season.
Dunn averaged 15.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg and recorded the second highest season assist total ever at PC, with 247, just off Ernie DiGregorio’s 1973 record of 267. He notched PC’s ninth ever triple-double against DePaul and narrowly missed several others. He led the Big East in assists and steals per game and became the first guard in league history to be named Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
In addition, Dunn racked up national and regional awards. He was named Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America, NBC Sports.com Second Team All-America and CBS Sports.Com Third Team All-America. He also received USBWA All-District 1 First Team and NABC District 5 First Team honors.
Speculation that Dunn might jump to the NBA rose in recent weeks with mock drafts placing him as high as 13th or 14th in the first round. Still, Dunn’s love for college and a desire to continue his development to be better prepared for the demands of NBA ball influenced his decision to return to Providence and hopefully better his draft position next season. Already, Dunn is being mentioned for preseason All-American teams and a possible national player of the year candidate and it would be a major surprise if he is not the preseason Big East Player of the Year pick. All of which would greatly raise his profile.
It’s not often that a projected first round draft choice returns to college, but Kris Dunn is as unique a person as he is a player and the Friars are the better for it.
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