These days college basketball players redshirting is becoming more and more a rarity. Thus, Brandon Dunson knows that he will be expected to contribute right away in this upcoming season, especially as one of Arizona State’s floor generals. His point guard role is one that naturally brings some leadership qualities with it and the former Wabash Valley (Ill.) Community College star is more than ready to take on that part despite being a newcomer.
“I’m looking to have a good year and know that if I work as hard as I can I will be able to help the team,” Dunson said. “I want to be a good leader for the team and set a good example for the rest of the players. If I play well and do the right things the minutes will come and everything will fall into place.
“Even though I’ve been playing at other schools not on this level, I think that I have a good experience that can help the freshmen on the team. It can be tough being one of the new guys and also becoming a leader but these players are very receptive and they know that I’m old enough and I have experience. So they’ll be good following the lead and I will also help guys that have already been here like Ty (Abbott), Jamelle (McMillan) and Trent (Lockett) whenever I can. I’ve been through a lot and I can help my teammates because of that.”
In terms of his personal transition, Dunson remarked that it has been nothing but positive despite adjusting to new surroundings and triple digit summer temperatures and putting in hard work in the team’s strength and conditioning program.
“It’s been real nice so far,” Dunson said. “I’m working hard in the weight room to get stronger. I’m about 180 lbs. and I’m trying to get to 185 and keep my body fat low. I’ve been working on my conditioning like everyone else, trying to keep that up.”
When participating in the team’s pickup games Dunson gets to hone his skills and get a good feel for his teammates’ attributes as well.
“I’ve been getting used to my teammates seeing where they like to get the ball at,” Dunson commented. “I want to work on that stuff now so when the season comes it gets easier. My quickness and penetrating to the rim are my biggest strengths and that helps me find my teammates for the open shot. I’m also strong with my on the ball defense.
“Our team is very athletic and it’s going to be fun to play and run with all these guys.”
As a sophomore at Wabash Dunson averaged 11.8 ppg, 4.6 apg, and 3.4 rpg. He shot 52% from the field, 46 % from 3-pt range and 71% FT. He also had a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. His team finished 28-5 and at season’s end ranked 16th nationally in the NLCAA poll as the point guard was named All-Region and All-Conference.
Oklahoma State and Nevada offered Dunson and schools such as Gonzaga, Florida State and Illinois were all pursuing him as well. Compared to most of his suitors, ASU entered the recruiting picture fairly late.
“When they started recruiting me I just got a great feeling about them,” Dunson said of the Sun Devils. “I looked at Coach Sendek and his system, and how he told me he’s going to run more. I saw what he has done here with the program and obviously he’s a great coach.
“Through the entire recruiting process I just had great conversations with him and Coach Pera. I just felt great about the whole situation and I just decided the end the process and commit to them.”
What made Dunson’s pledge unique was that it was made before he even set foot in Tempe for an official or unofficial visit.
“Sometimes I do think back and that it was a crazy thing to do,” Dunson said laughing. “I guess I got lucky. But before I visited here I heard so many good things about the campus, and my high school coach knows Coach Sendek from North Carolina. One of my old AAU coaches lives in Tempe and I talked to him at length about the campus.
“I never met a person that had anything bad to say about Coach (Sendek) or Arizona State.”
Some college basketball pundits may not be very kind in their upcoming pre-season predictions concerning the Sun Devils. They would likely argue that a squad which returns just five players who ever played at the Pac-10 level is logically destined for a season full of trials and tribulations.
Dunson doesn’t share that pessimistic view.
“I think all the new guys will be able to adjust,” Dunson stated. “As long as everyone works hard all the seven newcomers will get good minutes, and everybody has already been working hard this summer. I think our talent level…I haven’t seen many teams with this talent level. We are a very aggressive team and that will help us a lot.”