COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Chase Dunn of Livingston, one of the premier
prep basketball players in the region, has signed a national letter
of intent with Tennessee Tech University where he will continue his
superlative career for coach Mike Sutton's Golden Eagles.
Dunn, a 5-foot-8 senior at Livingston Academy, is the second announced addition of the early signing period for Sutton's staff, joining Georgia guard Terrell Barnes.
"We really like Chase. He's a great young man and a talented basketball player and he's going to be an excellent addition to our university and our basketball program," Sutton said. "He has exceptional skills with the basketball, as a ball-handler and passer, as well as scorer.
"He has improved every year, and he has a great desire to continue to improve," Sutton said. "He has a winning attitude and a great work ethic and he'll be an ideal fit with the players we'll have coming back."
Livingston Academy head basketball coach Richard Melton also feels that the two-time all-state selection will be a perfect fit with the Golden Eagles.
"The senior class across the state of Tennessee is loaded, and I think he's one of the better seniors," Melton said. "They're all 6-4 to 6-10, and he comes in at 5-8. Pound-for-pound he's one of the best players in Tennessee.
"He can be a game-changer and I've seen him put his team on his shoulders. You expect a 6-3, 6-4 kid to do that, but at 5-8, it's something to watch."
And being among bigger players won't hinder Dunn, according to Melton.
"I'm anxious to see him raise his level, and he's a hard enough worker to do it," Melton said. "Once he gets to Tech, everybody he plays against will be much bigger than him. That's always been his story. He's always been the ?little kid' who can do so much.
"Chase plays bigger than what he is; It's not how big you are, but what you can do. He's done the job in high school and on the advanced AAU level, whatever his role has been. He can be a scorer, he can be a playmaker, he can be a team leader."
With more than 1,800 points, Dunn is nearing the school's all-time scoring record, a barrier Melton expects to fall. But Dunn's contributions won't be limited to scoring. In fact, Melton sees his role changing.
"His role is actually changing a little bit in high school because the team around him is better," Melton said. "It's inevitable that his role at Tech will be more of a playmaker.
Being 5-foot-8 doesn't limit him from scoring, but I see him being less of a scorer and more of a playmaker.
"He's a great passer," Melton said. "People underestimate his ability to pass the ball, but he can be a playmaker instead of a finisher. Whatever his role, he'll show another part of his game. A part of his game that people in this area haven't seen him do a lot of.
A talented player for the Wildcats, Dunn garnered back-to-back All-Upper Cumberland Player of the Year honors from the Cookeville Herald-Citizen during his sophomore and junior campaigns while being named to the Class AA all-state squad both seasons.
As a junior, he broke a Livingston Academy scoring record with 49 points in the Region 4-AA semifinals against Station Camp High School. He led the Wildcats to their first trip to the TSSAA State Tournament in Murfreesboro since 1997. Livingston Academy finished 30-5 last season.
He has averaged in double figures his entire high school career, with 10 points per game as a freshman and 20 ppg as a sophomore before upping it to 23 points per contest last winter.
Dunn is excited to join the Golden Eagle squad.
"It's going to be a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," Dunn said. "Coach (Steve) Payne has been recruiting me the hardest. We've developed a pretty good bond. I feel comfortable around everyone there, so I think it's going to work out great.
"Being a true point guard, I'm going to give it my all and do everything I can for the Golden Eagles," he said.
Staying close to home was one of the factors that influenced Dunn's decision.
"I'll be close to my family and friends. Tech's a great campus and it's where I wanted to be. That was one of the biggest factors in my decision," Dunn said.
With Dunn playing locally, fans in his hometown will have plenty of opportunities to follow their favorite player, according to Melton.
"It's been a while since Tech has had a high-profile player from this area, and that may put a little extra pressure on Chase, but I think that's good for him," Melton said. "It's a great opportunity for our program here at Livingston Academy. It'll be great for Tech to generate more local interest."
Dunn is currently in his final season at Livingston Academy.
"I wanted him to get this off his mind as soon as he could," Melton said. "He's waited a while. I just wanted to make sure that he was comfortable with it and not rush to any decisions. Now that he's got it done, I just want him to have the best year he's ever had."
Chase is the son of Dale Dunn and Angie Anderson, and will graduate from Livingston Academy in May, 2009.