After being a highly touted recruit out of Arlington Lamar, former four-star center Cannen Cunningham decided he wanted to play college basketball as close to home as possible. That's when SMU stepped in and scooped him up.
"I wanted to stay close to home," Cunningham said. "I'm a big family guy so that was a big part of my decision."
In his freshman season, Cunningham came in and earned a few starts for the Mustangs, who went 13-19 on the season, but overall did not receive a whole lot of playing time. The District 4-5A first-teamer said that although he expected SMU to perform better, his sights are now on the future.
"Last year I thought we would do better than we did," said the 6-foot-9 220-pound sophomore. "I thought I would get more playing time. That was a big part of my lack of production I guess you could say. This year I'm excited. I've been working hard since the new staff got here so I'm looking forward to a better season."
Cunningham said that SMU's new basketball staff, led by Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown, is ‘awesome' and likes the way they bring high intensity into every practice.
Cunningham says that within Brown's new system he will be able to showcase his talents at spots on the floor other than just down low in the post- especially with the additions of 6-foot-11 center Blaise Mbargorba and 7-footer Jordan Dickerson. Cunningham believes that outside of the box is where he can make the biggest impact.
"I'll definitely be playing the five position when we go small, but I'll also get a chance to step out on the perimeter when those big guys come in. That's my game right there," Cunningham said with a smile. "That's what I came here for and I'm excited to do that."
Cunningham took some heat in his first year for not being the bruiser in the post that some believed he could be. However, Cunningham says that he's never been that type of player. His perimeter game is what suits him best.
"I mean that's always been my style of play. I've never been a banger," Cunningham said. "I've always been light to play in the post so I think this year getting to step out a little bit will show my true game."
Cunningham says that he feels much more prepared going into his sophomore season and that he is more athletic and possesses a higher basketball IQ. Cunningham has set major goals for his individual play this season but says winning is his real focus.
"I think I should average a double-double and make the all-conference team," Cunningham said. "As a team we've got to win. That's the only focus. We can be very good as long as we stay focused and listen to the man."
Player Profile Series: Cannen Cunningham
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