NCB On The Trail: Josh Cunningham

ESPN 100 power forward Josh Cunningham has committed to Bradley over Indiana, South Carolina, DePaul, Creighton, Oklahoma and St. John's. He gives coach Geno Ford a top-100 recruit and potential immediate impact performer.

Roundtable: ESPN 100 commit predictions 

April, 15, 2014
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The ESPN 100 has just three remaining uncommitted prospects, and the competition remains furious for their services.

Myles Turner, No. 2 in the ESPN 100, leads the way, followed by No. 94 Elijah Stewart, who was released from his letter of intent to Loyola Marymount following the firing of coach Max Good, and No. 98 Josh Cunningham.

Devonte Graham wasn’t ESPN 100 eligible by virtue of his post-graduate status, but there is no denying he is a wanted man after receiving his release from Appalachian State. He will take official visits to Kansas and North Carolina State while also considering Virginia, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Providence.

So where are these remaining four prospects headed? No one knows for sure just yet, but here are a few educated guesses:


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The race is getting quite interesting for ESPN 100 forward Josh Cunningham. He had plans to make a decision this week but now will wait another week. Cunningham is going to take his last official visit to South Carolina this weekend. He told me last month that he likes coach Frank Martin because he is a top defensive coach and Cunningham likes to play defense.

Cunningham has taken official visits to Iowa State, Creighton, Oklahoma and Northwestern. He's also still considering Indiana, Bradley, DePaul and Minnesota.

It looks like he will make his announcement on April 18 so stay connected here with Recruiting Nation for all of the latest on his recruitment.
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With the transfer of Jeremy Hollowell, the Hoosiers lose a small forward with a multidimensional offensive game. I like the way he creates shots for himself at his size (6-foot-8), which allows him to be an effective player in the lane when he is guarded by smaller opponents. Conversely, when he has a bigger defender on him, he can drag him away from the basket and produce.

ESPN 100 prospect Josh Cunningham is different, as he is more of an undersized power forward who scores best on open shots but does not have the range of Hollowell. Cunningham, a 6-7 senior from Chicago Morgan Park, beats opponents with straight-line drives as he lacks the ability to shake his defender.

The biggest difference is that the uncommitted Cunningham, ranked No. 99 in the ESPN 100, rebounds and defends better than Hollowell. I like Hollowell's offensive game when he is focused, and I like Cunningham as the better defender.

If Indiana can land Cunningham, the Hoosiers would pick up a good player who could contribute as a freshman.
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Let's take a look at who is leaving Indiana, who is returning and which new players are coming into the program.

Indiana is losing four seniors in Will Sheehey, Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer. At the semester break, Luke Fisher transferred to Marquette, and just recently Austin Etherington and Jeremy Hollowell left the program. But perhaps the biggest departure will be Noah Vonleh to the NBA draft. Vonleh was the Big Ten freshman of the year this season as he averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds per game, which was the best in the Big Ten.

The Hoosiers return one of the best point guards in the Big Ten and in the nation in Yogi Ferrell (17.3 ppg), as well as athletic players such as Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson.

As for their incoming recruiting class, the Hoosiers have two guards coming in who could start and will help immediately in shooter James Blackmon Jr. and combo guard Robert Johnson.

There is plenty of roster space to fill right now in Bloomington, Ind., but hardly anyone left in the 2014 class to fill needs. They are, however, still involved with ESPN 100 forward Josh Cunningham, who could bring a combination of scoring and defense to the small forward/power forward spot.

When you analyze Indiana's future roster, it's important for the coaching staff to land some quality players with size in the frontcourt -- prospects who can score and/or be an elite rebounder or shot blocker.
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Only three players are left on the board in the ESPN 100, and Myles Turner is the only one who's a game-changer. But it doesn't mean there is talent out there who won't help a major program.

JaQuan Lyle, who is ranked No. 41, is a setup point guard with a strong body and is capable of playing as a freshman. His greatest assets are his passing ability and basketball IQ. He understands the game. Lyle plans on making his college decision soon and is down to Oregon, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Memphis.

No. 99 prospect Josh Cunningham is a hybrid forward who excels on the break and in defending in the half court. He has enough of offense to keep opponents honest and is looking at many schools, including Indiana and South Carolina.

There are always guys outside the top 100 who can help programs at different levels next season. If they are still unsigned in the late period, it could mean a lot of things. Some may be waiting on their grades, while others are still blossoming, and a few may be hoping for better offers.
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With our updated ESPN 100 rankings, uncommitted forward Josh Cunningham (Chicago/Morgan Park) earned his way to No. 99 with his productive performances against top competition. Last week his team lost in the Chicago Public League tournament, but he and his team start their state title run next month.

Let's take an in-depth look at his game and recruitment:


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Predicting the uncommitted ESPN 100s 

February, 18, 2014
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As the only four remaining uncommitted prospects in the ESPN 100, No. 2 Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity), No. 41 JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Huntington Prep), No. 69 Anas Osama Mahmoud (Orlando, Fla./West Oaks Academy) and No. 99 Josh Cunningham (Chicago/Morgan Park) are all marked men these days as a variety of programs battle it out for these recruits.

There is no shortage of options for the four, but as we get closer to the late signing period, their decisions will ultimately impact a variety of other programs that will be left scattering for any leftovers in a depleted list of still-available prospects.

With that in mind, we asked our team of RecruitingNation experts to predict where each of these four will ultimately end up:

Myles Turner


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Video: Coveted basketball targets

February, 13, 2014
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National recruiting reporters Adam Finkelstein and Reggie Rankin join Phil Murphy to discuss which programs would most benefit from adding each of the four uncommitted ESPN 100 prospects.
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The most successful recruiters are the ones with both a philosophy and a strategy.

They analyze their rosters, the competition and style of play in order to systematically build the most comprehensive team possible.

But as the old saying goes, even the best laid schemes often go awry, so flexibility and adaptability become equally imperative to long-term recruiting success.

That can be especially true during the college season, when a number of factors can change the course of a team’s plans.

Sometimes a team evolves in ways in which their coaches didn’t project, one player develops more than expected while another’s learning curve is less. And so that program needs to bring in a different position player than they once thought.

Most often, recruiting needs evolve according to turnover within the roster. Transfers are the most obvious example, but for many of the nation’s most prestigious programs, it’s the ramifications of the NBA draft that become especially hard to project.

With that in mind, here is a look at five programs whose recruiting needs now look much different than they did at the beginning of the season:


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#AskCoachB: Can Hoosiers lure PF?

February, 7, 2014
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The Hoosiers have a good chance because Josh Cunningham is looking for a situation where he can go in and get some minutes. With Noah Vonleh playing his way into a possible lottery pick and the departure of Luke Fisher to Marquette there is playing time up front at Indiana. Recently Cunningham had 36 points and 22 rebounds as he played in front of the Indiana coach Tom Crean. Cunningham has offers from Bradley, Creighton, DePaul, Oklahoma and South Carolina, and he is still open to new suitors.

Another player Indiana has checked in on recently is Ruben Guerrero (Wichita, Kan./Sunrise Christian), a 6-10 center. He is a mobile big man with a high basketball IQ and a face-up game from short distance. He played very well on ESPNU on Jan. 25 against Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day.

Currently Indiana has a three-man recruiting class coming in with James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson and Max Hoetzel, all of whom can shoot from the outside.
Myles Turner, Rashad Vaughn and JaQuan Lyle were the major unclaimed prizes to come out of November’s early signing period, but Vaughn’s expected decision this weekend will leave only two high-profile targets for many of the nation’s most prestigious college programs to battle over.

But the next best remaining prospect in the country might just be a guy that is both prohibited from being a part of the ESPN 100 as well as from talking to college coaches, albeit for very different reasons.


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#AskCoachB: Josh Cunningham update

December, 11, 2013
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His recruiting is still wide open and he has not narrowed down a final list of schools. According to his AAU coach Lance Irvin, Cunningham lists Iowa State among many others at this point such as Oklahoma, Creighton, Minnesota, South Carolina, Bradley, UMass, DePaul and St. John’s. It's tough to figure out where he will land as he is in the middle of his season.

In a recent game against Mumford (Detroit) he had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Cunningham is an undersized power forward with the right approach to the game. He has toughness, bounce and slashes his way to the basket. He is a player that you don't want to face in a game. You want him on your team because he is a true fighter who plays with urgency and makes winning plays.

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