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Cunningham has eyes set on NBA D-League
Vancouver, Wash.: International Basketball League (IBL) All-Star forward Jared Cunningham has signed a contract with the NBA Development League for the 2012-13 season, but he will need to wait a bit longer to find out exactly where he will end up.
With his newly-signed contract, the 6-foot-9 Cunningham could land on a D-League team roster two different ways. After participating in tryouts for several teams, Cunningham could be protected by any of the teams he tried out for as a local player. Each D-League team is allowed to protect a maximum of five local players prior to the league draft, which will take place on November 2.
If Cunningham is not designated as a protected player, he would be entered into the D-League draft and would be eligible for selection by any team. D-League teams must submit their protected players list by October 31 in advance of the draft.
Wherever Cunningham ends up, it will be another step in an interesting career that has taken the talented forward to all parts of the country.
A McDonald’s All-American nominee in high school in Oregon, Cunningham headed east and played two seasons of junior college basketball at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Following his junior college experience, he transferred to Cleveland State University for one season before finishing out his collegiate career in Kentucky at the University of the Cumberlands, where he led his team in scoring with 17.7 points per game and earned first-team all-Mid South Conference honors.
Cunningham’s circuitous route around the basketball world continued into the professional ranks, as he had a short stint with the National Basketball League of Canada’s Moncton Miracles before heading overseas to suit up for the Hanau White Wings in Germany’s ProB league.
Where some players may have lost focus from the frequent changes of scenery, it was never an issue for Cunningham.
“I have moved around a lot and played for many different teams, but I believe it made me the person I am today,” explained Cunningham. “I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason. This is my path and I am going to continue to do what I do until I make it.”
Cunningham was able to find stability this spring, returning home to Oregon to play for the Portland Chinooks. Averaging 20.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, he helped lead the Chinooks to ten straight wins late in the season before eventually falling to the Bellingham Slam in the IBL Championship game.
Despite the setback in title game, Cunningham enjoyed a season of strong contribution, suiting up in all 20 games for the Chinooks and finishing 11th in the IBL in scoring and ninth in rebounding.
The owner of the Chinooks agrees on Cunningham’s contributions and being noticed.
“Cunningham was a key ingredient in the recipe for success that the Chinooks enjoyed last season,” explained Team Owner Terry Emmert. “He displays the traits of a professional, both on and off the court. His unwavering willingness to work hard combined with his outstanding attitude virtually guarantee his success at whatever endeavors he chooses to pursue.”
“I definitely enjoyed my first season in the IBL this year,” Cunningham reflected. “It was a good opportunity to stay in shape and play ball close to home. It was perfect because my family and friends could come watch me play. Some of them haven't seen me play in years -- that was a highlight for me.”
Cunningham’s work during the 2012 season was rewarded with a Second-Team League All-Star selection in the IBL, and he joined other IBL All-Stars at the Southern California Summer Pro League (SPL) in July. While participating in the SPL, Cunningham received a First-Team SPL All-Star selection and was invited to workouts with the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam and Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Cunningham will learn more about his future as D-League teams submit their protected player lists and the league holds its annual player draft. Follow the D-League draft as it happens on November 2 at 4 p.m. PT on the league’s website at www.nba.com/dleague.
About International Basketball League (IBL)
The International Basketball League (IBL) is a professional men’s basketball league based in Vancouver, Wash., with a spring summer season engaging high level basketball talent. The league is dedicated to fostering international basketball talent and focuses on providing family friendly events as well as moving players to the next level in their careers in international and domestic leagues such as the D-League (NBDL), Basketball Japan League (BJL), Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), and the Portuguese Basketball League (LCB). The IBL is in its eighth year of operation with teams across the United States and Canada. To learn more about the International Basketball League visit: www.ibl.com.