Atlanta Hawks Player Preview: Jared Cunningham
Birthplace: Oakland, California
Born Date: 5/22/1991
True Position: Shooting Guard (2)
411: Jared Cunningham is one of the youngest players on the team with much energy. Though he tends to have a laid back personality, you can see him constantly laughing and making jokes with his teammates. At 22 years of age, Jared has springs in his legs which is why his nickname is “Flight”. Born in Oakland, Jared is a fan of west coast music including the old school flow of Too Short. When Jared is not dunking over opponents or working on his perimeter game, he enjoys bowling. Listen to a brief interview with Jared to learn a little more about him and how he fits in with the Atlanta Hawks.
Basketball Background: Jared played high school basketball at San Leandro High School in San Leandro, California where in his junior season he arrived on the scene by averaging 18 points, 4.5 rebounds and just over 3 assists per game to go along with some fascinating, rim rocking dunks. In Jared’s senior season he earned academic All-America honors by exhibiting good grades off the court along with stellar play on the court improving both his scoring and rebounding numbers from the previous season averaging 20.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The following year, Jared accepted a scholarship to Oregon State where he instantly displayed his scoring prowess. It was during Jared’s sophomore year where he also showed he could be a great defensive player. In his sophomore season Jared averaged 14 points a game to go along with 2.83 steals per game which was first in the Pac-10 and fifth in the nation. For his outstanding defensive play, Jared was selected to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team as a sophomore. Jared would lead the Pac-12 in steals the following season as well while finishing ninth in the nation with 2.53 steals per game. His scoring went up to 18 points per game his junior season earning Jared a spot on both the All-Pac-12 First Team as well as the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
Following his junior season, Jared decided to take his talents to the next level leaving Oregon State second all-time in steals with 219 in three seasons; second to Gary Payton’s 321 steals. Flight was taken with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shortly after being selected by the Cavs, his draft rights were traded to the Dallas Mavericks along with Jae Crowder and Bernard James for Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azubuike. Last season Jared bounced around between the Mavs and their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks during the 2013 NBA Draft along with the rights to Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala in exchange for Shane Larkin.
Expectations: Jared is a young guy with fresh legs. He dealt with a few nagging injuries last season but is said to be 100%. Expect Jared to provide energy on defense off the bench. He is also a guy that could add excitement with his exceptional leaping ability whether it’s a break-away dunk or an alley-oop. Jared is a true slasher with an innate ability to get to the basket. He must improve his perimeter shooting but it is something he works hard on. Expect a few mistakes but Jared “Flight” Cunningham will be a player Hawks fans can get excited about due to his hard work and above average athleticism.
You may follow Jared on Twitter @J1Flight. You may also follow me @nottydred. As always, thank you and stay blessed.