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Former Pirate Drafted by Dallas Mavericks
Sunday, 08 July 2012 10:57
070512

TIMES FILE PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES

Jared Cunningham, now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, takes a shot in a game in 2009 at San Leandro High.

By Jim Knowles

San Leandro Times

When Jared Cunningham was a freshman at San Leandro High, he was already on the varsity basketball team.

He hadn’t hit that growth spurt yet that usually happens about the sophomore year, so he wasn’t very tall. As the Pirates practiced, a spectator faced an unavoidable thought: “What’s that kid doing out there?”

A minute later, Cunningham got the ball and launched a jump shot. Question answered.

Even as a ninth grader, he had that combination of athleticism, coordination and timing that makes everything look easy.

Former San Leandro High basketball star Jared Cunningham is now a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas made a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the draft pick to select Cunningham, who watched the draft at his agent’s house in Southern California with his family – his dad Jeff, mom Lucille and sister Jade.

The 2009 San Leandro High grad went on to Oregon State where he became a standout player and crowd favorite for the Beavers. He led the Pack-12 in steals the past two seasons and made the Pack-12 First Team this past season as a junior.

The 6 foot 4, 194 pound Cunningham decided to forego his senior year at Oregon State and head for the NBA.

“I felt it was a good opportunity to take my game to the next level,” he said.

His teammates and fans up in Oregon wished him well.

“Everybody’s a Dallas Mavericks fan now in Corvallis,” he said over the phone this week.

On Friday, Cunningham will be in Dallas for a team practice where he’ll meet the rest of the players. He’s already talked to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlilsle who he called “real cool guys.”

Cunningham will play in the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas for rookies and first- and second-year players, then head back to Dallas when the season starts.

Of course, one thing about playing in the NBA is the money’s pretty good. Cunningham’s agent is still working on the contract.

“The contract is still being written up but it should be pretty good,” he said.

Whether the Maverick’s put Cunningham at point guard or shooting guard doesn’t make any difference to him.

“I’ll play whatever position helps the team win,” he said, adding that he doesn’t see a big different between the two positions.

The important thing is to just go in and work hard every day, Cunningham said. That’s the way he’s approached it since he was a kid, that’s the approach that was reinforced by his coaches at San Leandro High, Todd Petersen and Sean Mackay, and that’s how he’s going about it now.

“The Maverick’s are a top-flight team, they won the championship in 2010,” Cunningham said. “So I’m going to do whatever they need to win it again.”

 

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