First-year Ryan Dunn providing spark off the bench for Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Whether it’s a spectacular dunk or a big defensive play, first-year Ryan Dunn has provided UVA with a spark off the bench this season.
“We need Ryan’s passion, his heart, his quickness, his mobility on defense, getting offensive rebounds and making some of the hustle plays,” Coach Tony Bennett said.
Dunn scored 19 points in the last two games. In the previous four games, two of them losses, Dunn didn’t score at all, playing fewer minutes.
“I think my game has slowed down. I’ve learned a lot about college basketball. I think there’s a lot more ways to grow, but I’ve gotten a lot better since September,” Dunn said.
Both Dunn and Tony Bennett say the first-year has become more comfortable and has improved his overall game. Dunn is only averaging three points per game, but some of his spectacular plays really get the team and crowd going.
“I feel like my energy and passion defensively leads to offense. If I don’t score, I don’t mind, but I’m trying to be the energy guy and passion guy for the team,” Dunn said.
Coming out of high school in New York, Dunn was recruited by Tony Bennett, but by the time Dunn made his decision to come to UVA, Virginia didn’t have a scholarship to give. Regardless, Dunn wanted to play for Bennett, even if it meant walking on.
“That tells you something. In the recruiting process, you let these young men know we really want you, we need you and here’s our vision, but when you feel like they want to be a Virginia Cavalier, they value what this programs is based on. Then you know you got something,” Coach Bennett said.
“I just felt like I needed to be here on my visit. There were signs in my life that translated to me being here,” Dunn said.
A scholarship spot did end up becoming available, but Dunn’s willingness to commit showed what he was willing to sacrifice to play at UVA. He says he’s excited for his first ACC tournament.
“I always watched ACC when I was young, I felt like it was the best conference, so it’s crazy for me going to Greensboro. Bringing intensity for Greensboro is going to be big,” Dunn said.
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