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Providence: A look at Kris Dunn

Chris Fairfield spotlights Providence's Kris Dunn, who is coming off of another injury-ridden season.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Dunn has only played 29 games in his two years at Providence, but he's been the heart and soul of the team with his contagious enthusiasm since he arrived on campus. He's at every game, cheering his teammates on and being more energetic and rowdy than any fan at the Dunkin Donuts Center. When he has played, Kris displays tremendous speed, can defend any starting point guard in the Big East Conference, and also has the ability facilitate with ease.  Kris will have three years of eligibility left and is going to have a fantastic year with a Providence team that will have more depth than any other team in the Big East.

Kris is young and charismatic, but has a personal story unknown to many people who follow the Friars.

Kris' father is John Seldon, who had been living in New London, Connecticut and was happily married to his new wife Audra. He received word that his children were living with their biological mother in Alexandria, Virginia. As soon as he heard the news, he got Kris' godfather Troy Peters and went on a trip to Virginia. When John arrived at the address of the apartment Kris was living in, they found it empty. His mother was unable to provide for his sons, and John later found his kids where living with their aunt.  He decided to bring John and Kris back home with him to New London and offer a place to live and a safe environment.

It was very apparent from day one that Kris had tremendous athletic ability. He could not be stopped on the football field and was an unbelievable basketball player. He was a young, athletic point guard with unlimited potential and started for New London High School as a freshman. Kris started receiving national attention when he was traveling with his AAU team called CBC (Connecticut Basketball Club). He was on a team with the best high school players in the state of Connecticut, including Detroit Pistons center, Andre Drummond. He traveled the country from Florida to Vegas, and was impressing head coaches of some of the most elite college programs in the country.  He received scholarships to UCONN, Louisville, and Georgetown but decided to go to play for head coach Ed Cooley at Providence.

Ed made a fantastic impression on not only Kris but his entire family.

He was the former head coach at Fairfield University and had just been hired as the head coach at Providence. He came from humble beginnings from living in poverty in North Providence and eventually earned a basketball scholarship to play at Stonehill College, and later became an assistant coach for Al Skinner at Boston College. Ed was the only coach to talk about the academics, which greatly impressed Kris' father.  Kris was also considering leaving New London High School and going to Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts to play against better competition. His father convinced him to finish his high school career at New London High, and Kris had an unbelievable senior year. Kris averaged 33 points and 10 rebounds per game in his senior year and was highly regarded as the best point guard in the country.

He would be the first McDonald's All-American since God Shamgod to commit to Providence and was also elected to the Jordan Brand Classic team. Ricardo Ledo who also committed to Providence would join Kris at the Jordan Brand Classic, he also attenden a lot of Kris's regular season games. Ricardo and Kris would be the two best players to commit to Providence in almost 20 years. Josh Fortune was another Providence commit for the Class of 2012 and secured Providence College of having one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

Kris unfortunately injured his shoulder during the summer going into his freshman year. He missed the first eight games of the season and it was easy to tell that he was hesitant to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Even though he made have struggled on offense, he was nothing short of amazing on defense. I have been a Providence season ticket holder for the past two years and I saw Kris single-handedly stop Shabbaz Napier,  limiting him to five field goal attempts. He started 19 out of his 25 games and led Providence to the quarterfinals of the NIT where the Friars lost to a very talented Baylor Bears team with several NBA caliber players.

The 2013-2014 season was even worse as Kris only played the first seven games of the season due to the re-injuring of his shoulder. When he did play, I couldn't help but notice the Friars playing at a different pace. Kris could control the tempo of the game by himself and could make a flashy assist look incredibly easy. He played an extremely important role for the team and was able to generate offense by finding Kadeem Batts and Bryce Cotton in open spots. He was a big part of the Friars going 6-1 to start the season, but the absence of Kris hurt the Friars tremendously.

Bryce Cotton was now required to be the starting point guard and be the team's leading scorer, while leading the league in assists. Surprisingly, Providence had its most exciting year in over a decade and Kris had to watch it all from the bench. He could have sat there and felt sorry for himself but instead, became their number one fan and was jumping and celebrating after every big play. He was as excited as any player on the roster when the Friars won the 2014 Big East Championship and was also as sad as any player when the Friars barley lost to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.

I have had the opportunity of actually talking to Kris at the Boston Celtics preseason game against the New York Knicks at the Dunkin Donuts Center. He was very polite, kind, and seemed very optimistic about the upcoming season. He was more than happy to take a picture with me and it makes me wonder how special the Friar season could have been if Kris did not re-injure his shoulder. Kris would have helped the team in so many ways and I believe Providence could have made it to the Sweet 16 if he were able to play.

This upcoming season, Providence has three returning starters in Tyler Harris, LaDontae Henton, and of course Kris Dunn. Providence also has Rodney Bullock who was suspended all of last year and two 7- foot centers in senior Carson Desroiers and stud freshman Paschal Chuckwu from nearby Fairfield Prep. They have a mix of freshman and veteran talent and Kris will be a leader for the Friars.