For Kellen Dunham, everything has been cyclical. After going under the radar on the national level in high school, he exploded at the Maui Invitational during his 2012 freshman campaign. Some NBA Draft experts prematurely donned him a lottery pick after his sophomore go-round, but Duham stayed in Indianapolis to finish out his college career. Despite two solid seasons to cap off his time at Butler in which he scored over 16 points a night and shot over 40% from three, people are sleeping on him yet again.
We got up with Dunham in Indy, where he was training alongside Wichita State All-American point guard Fred VanVleet. After some light plyometric and ball-handling work to get loose, he got to work with Chris Thomas of World Domination Basketball. Thomas, who also runs the Nike Asia Skills Academies, brought Dunham back to his bread and butter: His J.
“His skill is his jumpshot,” Thomas says with confidence of his client’s biggest strength. “He’s getting a lot of reps on the NBA three, the corner three, the transition three. We’re hoping to find a situation where he can show that he is a catch and shoot skilled player.”
Coming off of simulated pin-downs and dribble hand-offs, Dunham straight shot the lights out. He showed very little trouble transitioning to the NBA 3-point line and did not need to take an exaggerated step to gather the strength to let it fly. The ease in which the 22 year old transitioned to the land of 23’6″ was quite impressive, but wasn’t something that everyone saw all of the time at Butler.
“Probably how well he can shoot,” says Thomas of what Dunham will surprise teams with in workouts. “To Kellen’s credit, he is the ultimate team player. He’s a very positive type of kid and you’re never going to know that he’s pissed off. I feel that his last two years at Butler, they didn’t really put him in a position to show his strength, which is catch and shoot.
“Jimmer [Fredette], JJ [Redick] and those guys usually get a couple of screens and for some reason, he didn’t get that at Butler. Now he’s back to that.”
While the two spent a bit of time working on one dribble pull-ups and creative finishes at the rim, it will ultimately be Kellen Dunham’s ability to bomb from deep that will potentially land him on an NBA roster. At 6-6 with a silky smooth jumper, he is exactly the type of floor spacer that just about every NBA team could use. His defense and ball-handling are still very much works in progress, but given his gritty mentality, it’s clear that Kellen Dunham is going to do whatever it takes to fulfill his goals.
“The kid works harder than most to prove that he really loves basketball,” Thomas explains. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to be a professional basketball player.”