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Dunn happy to lend a hand in PC debut

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: The Day

Published December 19. 2012 4:00AM

Providence - Dealing with a mixture of emotions in his highly-anticipated Providence College debut, Kris Dunn admitted to playing a little crazy on Tuesday.

That's to be expected considering the McDonald's All-American guard was playing in his first basketball game since his New London High School glory days last winter.

"I had a little bit of jitters," Dunn said. "Of course, I was excited to play. It's been six months since I played a real game. I was just out there just going crazy."

Providence coach Ed Cooley added: "Yes, he was."

Dunn, who missed the first nine games while recovering from right shoulder surgery in July, also had some crazy good moments, too, in a 79-45 rout of Colgate at the Dunkin Donuts Center. He tied a Friar freshmen record with 13 assists and also finished with seven points and six rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench.

Overall, Dunn graded his performance a "D." As expected, he looked a bit rusty shooting the ball, going just 3-for-13 from the field. He also had four turnovers.

"I was happy to see Kris Dunn get on the floor," Cooley said. "I didn't like his shooting. His shooting was somewhat gross. But I liked how he ran the team. He was able to get other guys shots and he created offense with his speed and athleticism."

It's too early to tell what impact Dunn will have on the Friars, according to Cooley. But Cooley added that Dunn gives the Friars a different dimension.

At the very least, the addition of Dunn will definitely improve Providence's depth.

The Friars have been operating with just six scholarship players and a walk-on prior to the addition of Dunn and Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson, a physical 6-foot-10 forward who also made his debut Tuesday. Injured starting guard Vincent Council (hamstring) is out at least until Big East play.

Playing point guard, Dunn wasted no time in scoring his first career basket, converting an offensive rebound just 15 seconds after entering the game about three and a half minutes into the first half.

"When I got that basket, I lost all my jitters," Dunn said.

For the most part, he made good decisions running the team. But he never found his shooting rhythm, often missing shots that he usually makes. His two other baskets came on a 3-pointer and a layup.

"I don't know what happened to my shot," Dunn said. "Everything wasn't connecting. Luckily, I got my teammates the ball and they were hitting their shots."

His assists kept piling up in the second half. He set up junior Kadeem Batts for a dunk for his ninth assist, the most by any Friar this season. After the game, he was surprised to learn that he finished with 13.

The Kris Dunn Fan Club turned out for the game, with about 80 people in attendance from southeastern Connecticut, according to Dunn.

All the anticipation in the 24 hours leading up to his debut made for a restless night on Monday.

"I definitely had trouble sleeping," Dunn said. "I was just thinking about the game before it happened. I was excited all day because I had a lot of people from back home come to see me play for my debut. I appreciated everybody that came out to watch me play."

Now Dunn can go on to the rest of his career. He'll go back to gym and work on his jump shot and improve his conditioning. He feels his shoulder is 100 percent.

Dunn and the Friars will head out on the road for three straight games, visiting Boston College Saturday, Brown (Dec. 28) and the Big East opener at Louisville on Jan. 2.

g.keefe@theday.com

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