Freeport’s Dunn a first-round NBA pick


Former Freeport resident and Long Island Lutheran High School star Ryan Dunn can add NBA first-round draft pick to an already impressive resume.

The 6-foot-6 forward, who played two seasons at the University of Virginia, was selected 28th overall by the Denver Nuggets in the 2024 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn June 26. He was subsequently traded to the Phoenix Suns, along with the 56th pick and two future second-round picks, for this year’s No. 22 selection.

“Hearing my name called was very surreal,” Dunn told the Arizona Republic. “As a kid, I used to wear a suit when I was young and watch it on TV, and dream of walking across that stage and shaking my mom’s hand. To do it in real time this time, it was a surreal moment.”

The 2021 Long Island Lutheran graduate averaged 8.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocked shots and 1.3 steals for Virginia as a sophomore this past season en route to All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention honors. The Cavaliers won 21 games and reached the NCAA tournament, where they fell in the opening round to Colorado State.

“Ryan goes hard every day, and we saw so much growth even in his practice time with us,” said Long Island Lutheran head coach John Buck, who coached Dunn for one full regular season and a Covid-impacted three-game senior campaign. “An awesome growth spurt and great coaching at Virginia has helped him get to where he is today.”

Dunn was named to the All-ACC defensive team this past season after leading the conference in blocked shots. He reached double figures in scoring in 11 games and tallied a team-high five double-doubles. As a freshman in 2022-23, he averaged 2.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 12.9 minutes per game.

“Ryan’s a phenomenal kid, and fit right in with our program,” Virginia assistant coach Orlando Vandross said. “He’s a tremendous teammate and a relentless worker. We’re a defensive-minded program, and Ryan had a lot to do with our success. We’re very proud of him and excited for his future.”

CBS Sports College Basketball Insider Adam Finkelstein graded Dunn’s selection a B, and called him one of the best defensive players in college basketball.

“He is an explosive athlete who didn’t get to show it much because of Virginia’s pace,” Finkelstein said in his draft analysis. “He’s also a great cutter who can show it with the Suns’ spacing. If he can get to the point where defenses have to show him even a little respect as a shooter, he will be a long-term NBA player.”

Dunn, whose brother Justin is a pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds and whose parents, Donna and Edmund, still live in Freeport, became the 10th Virginia player selected in the NBA Draft since 2012, and is the 12th Cavalier to be selected in the first round.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m really here,” he told the Arizona Republic. “I think once I suit up and start playing, it’ll probably hit. It was a moment of all the hard work I’ve done. But starting this chapter now, there’s a lot more to go. I got to this mountain. Now I got to start climbing it. I’m excited. I have to compete.”