Dunn Dominates Interstate Battle
January 8th, 2012
by Christian Bradley
Dunn puts up 32 points and 22 rebounds to lead New London over St. Raphael
New London (CT) 66, St. Raphael Academy (RI) 55
A packed house was on hand Saturday night at the Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick to see the defending Connecticut Class L state champion New London Whalers take on last year’s Rhode Island Division 1 champion St. Raphael Academy Saints. Even more so though, the standing-room only crowd was there to see #2 nationally ranked point guard and Providence-pledged senior Kris Dunn take on a legitimate Division 1 point guard talent in Saints’ junior Charles Correa.
As expected, Dunn stole the show for the Whalers, scoring 32 points and pulling down 26 rebounds. To put it simply, he made difficult plays look seemingly effortless. He has quickly emerged as a likely candidate for the McDonald’s All-American game in a couple months, and that’s hard to argue after witnessing his very rare package of length, quickness, athleticism, and effort.
As such a rare physical specimen, Dunn will always be able to stand out in a gym full of talented players. However, his high-flying dunks, ankle-breaking dribble moves, and awe-inspiring no-look passes were not what made him stand out so much on this night. Dunn was far and above everyone else on the floor because of his motor and his superb physical condition to keep that motor going. He had around a dozen offensive rebounds, and despite playing every minute of the game but the last one, he never seemed to tire. Dunn was absolutely relentless on the offensive glass and played the role of fearless attacker with the ball in his hands.
As he did a week-and-a-half ago at the Northeast Christmas Classic, 6’3 junior Keith Porter was deadly on the offensive end for the Whalers. He has nice rotation on his outside jumper, but more than anything else his ability to get to the rim in stride and hang in the air was what made him stand out. Porter, like Dunn, is very long for 6’3 and uses that length to his advantage to finish above opponents ,pull down tough rebounds, and pester opposing ball handlers in a half-court trap.
Correa really struggled to hit shots from 18-25 feet. It’s probably unfair to read too far into his shot selection in a game like this, as all in attendance could see he was grinding to catch any kind of rhythm he could offensively to help carry the load for the Saints, but Correa really seemed to be forcing unnecessary shots when at times he probably should have stayed patient that early in the shot clock.
Despite his shooting woes, Correa nailed some impressive jumpers and certainly still put on display why he is considered by most to be a low Division 1 prospect at the very least. His ball handling is fantastic, and he did a great job of getting in the paint and either creating for his teammates or finishing acrobatic lay-ups thanks to his elite athleticism and impressive upper body strength.
His most impressive play of the night, and the play that really sums up his physical abilities, was when he received a pass from a teammate deep in the corner of the Saints end of the floor: he caught the ball, never panicked, and used his strength and dexterity to dribble through the three-man trap of New London; he then flew up the court, untouched, and pulled up for a smooth mid-range jumper from a foot behind the foul line.
Like Porter with Dunn, Cesar Mejia continues to do a great job of complimenting his team’s star player. Mejia was the game-high scorer for the Saints (19 points) and showed he score in a variety of ways: knocking down jumpers from the short-corner out to behind the arc, but also getting some hard-earned offensive rebounds and eventual put-backs.
NERR & ESPN Boston correspondent Lucas Shapiro was also in attendenace working on his latest "X & O" video piece for ESPN Boston. To see his highlights from the game, please click here.