Dante Cunningham, who was virtually unknown by Trail Blazers fans when he was selected with the 33rd pick in the 2009 Draft, is quickly making a name for himself two games into summer league play. Most of the focus leading up the Las Vegas centered on Jerryd Bayless but Cunningham has shown that the summer league is anything but a one-man show as far as Portland fans are concerned.
The book on Cunningham, who spent the last four years playing at
"I end up creating space with the defender on me," said Cunningham. "My ability to be able to shoot and raise up over taller defenders and also my quickness around taller defenders gives me an advantage.
"A lot of times it’s just facing them up, giving them a jab step. I’m not that much larger than other players, but a lot of times they notice I’m a lot faster than them are so they’re kind of leery of me being able to go around them, so they do tend to back up on the jab step and I’m able to raise up and shoot."
Whether it's respect for his quickness or just poor defense, Cunningham has found himself open early and often in Las Vegas. He's also caught the eye of his summer league coach.
"Dante has been very solid," said Joe Prunty. "He’s been aggressive offensively. He’s been getting shots and he’s been confident stepping up and trying to knock those down. And he's doing a decent job on the boards."
"I love to be coached," said Cunningham "I love to always have somebody telling me what I can do to get better. They definitely are always in my ear correcting and making sure I have a good understanding of what’s going on."
And though the Trail Blazers are still winless through the first two contests in Las Vegas, Cunningham is confident that first victory is coming soon.
"I think we’re definitely coming together. We’re still making corrections for a team that’s only been together for a week and a half now. I think we’re starting to click and finding each other a lot better every day."