Thursday, November 3, 2016

ACD To Usher In New Era Under Cunningham

On paper, few SIAA teams absorbed stronger off-season blows than Arlington Country Day.

Graduation claimed poised guard Jayden Hodgson and underrated 6-foot-9 Center Koch Bar, both of whom are now at Bradley.

Shortly afterward, a highly-touted guard in Luguentz Dort and 6-foot-8 stretch four Damir Hadzic transferred.

Yet at a tradition-rich program of ACD's magnitude, one which rose to national prominence under the late and legendary Rex Morgan, a steady crop of new talent is readily harvested.

The tiny school has yielded the basketball seed proudly for Jacksonville, winning seven Florida State Championships and producing a handful of All Americans in the process.

While there are many unknowns unprovens enveloping this callow core, arguably the league's most acclaimed coach takes over the program.

Cunningham brings a wealth of experience and a resume which includes stops at UNLV, Arkansas Little Rock, Missouri, Duquesne, and a variety of other mid and high major programs as an assistant.

Cunningham inherits a roster that was thoroughly cleansed from last season. It is a young core with international flavor.

Still getting acclimatized to the fresh faces, Cunningham said his first obligation is ingraining the team concept.

"We've got some guys who come in from different parts of the world and international teams," Cunningham explained.

"We've got some guys who have talent but talent doesn't necessarily translate into production. So, I've got to see them in real live game situations. I'd be better able to assess us after about 6-7 games."

A steadfast, one game at a time advocate, Cunningham doesn't subscribe to a particular style. His team will be predicated on taking care of the basketball, constant rebounding, and defensive pressure throughout all 94 feet.

The well-traveled coach was adamant about adapting to the physical, high horsepower style of the SIAA.

"I'm not married to any particular style," he said. "We've got some real quick kids. The thing I've found out about kids is that with 'run and gun' paced basketball, kids like to run on one end. They don't like to run the other way. Real good transition teams play good at transition defense."