NEW YORK—Three years after we predicted he would lead Providence into the top 10, and just minutes after being announced as the Big East’s co-Player of the Year, Kris Dunn (far left in Breitbart Sports photo) told Breitbart Sports, “I tell people that if you trust in God you can believe in anything.”
After NBC Sports reported on our “crazy” projection that included Providence as a top-10 team, the Friars were floored by injuries to Dunn and eligibility issues as their super recruiting class just could not get on the court together.
Dunn sat out the early part of the 2012-13 campaign, but was eventually able to get on the court later and help Providence salvage the season with a run to the NIT semifinals. Then he played only four games in 2013-14 and watched from the bench as Providence made a shocking turn through the Big East Tournament.
They stunned Creighton and National Player of the Year Doug McDermott for the conference title at Madison Square Garden, then almost shocked UNC in the NCAA tournament—a 79-77 loss that Friars fans must have thought would have been a win if Dunn were able to play.
Dunn was quick to tell Breitbart Sports that it was an honor to win but that he had the ultimate respect for the players who had put in a few years while he was mainly watching and unable to play. “I wish my teammate LaDeontae Henton had won it—he does everything. Or D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (of Georgetown), I have the ultimate respect for all he has done.”
The player who came out of Connecticut as the No. 1 ranked point guard in the country is all the more humble for not having the instant success. Maybe humility goes along with having the ability to score at will but choosing instead to be the top assist player in the country at www.kenpom.com (49% of the baskets scored by other Friars while Dunn is on the court came from a pass by Dunn). He ranks as the No. 5 player in the country in steals.
He helped Providence and the Big East come out strong this year—scoring huge wins over Notre Dame, Rhode Island, Florida State, and finally Miami to close the non-conference season. After beating Miami, the Friars then beat Creighton in a rematch of last year’s Big East championship—and in the Miami and Creighton games Dunn had an unreal 25 assists.
It is no surprise Dunn’s co-MVP was from regular season champion Villanova. But it was a bit of a surprise that it was his good friend Ryan Arcidiacono (second from left, next to Dunn in photo) rather than the more heralded Darrun Hilliard.
Unlike last year, Providence does not need to win the tournament to make the NCAA. They will be invited on Sunday regardless. Dunn gets a redhot St. John’s team tomorrow afternoon after No. 1 seed Villanova gets the winner of tonight’s Marquette-Seton Hall game.
If they both win tomorrow afternoon, the co-POYs will face off in the semifinal Friday.
Villanova’s Jay Wright was chosen Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, and Seton Hall freshman Angel Delgado took Rookie of the Year honors. Butler guard Alex Barlow was a repeat winner of the Scholar-Athlete award.