The Providence Friars are going to be an undermanned team in 2015-16, without a doubt. Leading scorer LaDontae Henton is graduating, and Tyler Harris is transferring. Everyone associated with the Friars was awaiting the decision of star Kris Dunn, as to whether or not he would return to school or throw his name into the ring for the NBA Draft
On Friday, Dunn announced his future plans, and Friar fans everywhere rejoiced. Dunn decided to forego the NBA Draft, opting to return to Providence for his junior season. His decision to return makes him arguably the best player in the conference, and gives the Friars a legitimate chance to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.
Dunn, a 6’3”, 205-pound guard out of New London, CT, enjoyed a breakout season in 2014-15, as he established himself as one of the best players in the country. He averaged 15.6 points, 7.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per contest.
His play on the defensive end of the floor is what got him the most attention. Dunn is widely considered one of the best defenders in the country, and the rest of the Big East will dread seeing him on the opposite bench this season.
Many NBA scouts and executives thought that Dunn would be a first-round selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. With his length, size, and athleticism, he could have worked his way into the discussion for a lottery selection during pre-draft workouts if he had opted to go pro.
One area that Dunn can improve on this season is his shooting. He shot a reasonable 35.1% from three-point range this past season, but only 68.6% from the free throw line. If he can improve his shooting stroke this season, he should be a guaranteed lottery selection in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The return of Kris Dunn makes Providence a sleeper team in the Big East this season, and gives Ed Cooley a star player that should lead them to an NCAA Tournament appearance.