Rasheem Dunn, the new kid on the block, knows mid-major basketball all too well. Dunn cut his teeth near his Brooklyn home at St. Francis College from 2016-2018. As the program’s leading scorer in two seasons, he had the ball in his hands late in games on many occasions.
In his debut for the Red Storm this past Saturday, Dunn wanted to make a lasting impression in the same Carnesecca Arena his best friend and high school teammate Shamorie Ponds left behind for the NBA this past summer.
Dribbling the ball at the top of the key, Dunn rose with 21.3 seconds remaining, and drained a three in the face of 6-foot-11 center Daniel Giddens, tying the game at 68.
“It actually wasn’t the plan coming out,” Dunn later admitted. “But I saw the clock was winding down and we didn’t have much time, so I was just like, ‘let me get a screen and get the big man by himself and put up the shot’ and it went in.”
Unfortunately, Anthony Lamb of Vermont hit the game winner on the other end, giving the Red Storm their first loss of the season.
But the Red Storm faithful welcomed their new Johnnie with a rousing ovation as he entered six minutes into the contest, coming off the bench – a role he may grow out of sooner than later.
“He brings readiness to the game for us,” said head coach Mike Anderson of Dunn following his first game.
The Brooklyn kid originally transferred from St. Francis after his sophomore season, landing in Cleveland State, where he spent last season waiting and watching under NCAA rules.
Dennis Felton, the head coach who brought in Dunn in anticipation of a 2019-20 debut for the Vikings, was fired in July, which lead to a second transfer for Dunn.
Dunn was originally expected to sit another season, but the NCAA overturned their original decision and allowed Dunn to make his season debut for the Red Storm this past weekend.
“He's a guy that can create for us,” Anderson added on Dunn. “To play for a new coach, new style, his first game, he came out and gave us everything,”
The 6-foot-2 combo guard played 27 minutes, the third most of any guard on the roster behind the remaining top scorers from last season, Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa.
In the sizable workload, Dunn also was the team’s third leading scorer of the day, finishing with 13 points to go with two assists and two rebounds. Heron and Figueroa led with 14 each.
“It was a wonderful day,” Dunn said of being able to play in the same arena where his Jefferson Orange Wave earned a trip to the PSAL Championship over three years ago. “First time playing this year and just having that game, getting my feel back, getting my groove back, and being on the court with the team I work hard with every day this summer.”
Dunn shot 4-for-12 in his first game with the Red Storm, and only hit 1-of-6 from three, but was aided by a 4-for-6 effort on free throws. Still, the former Terrier insists that he’d like to get off to much quicker starts than he did on Saturday.
“I felt like I showed up too late for my team and things like that happen when you don’t play for a year,” he said. “We were down 10 with under seven minutes and we did what we could do to get a W, but unfortunately things didn’t work out that way.” Dunn and the Red Storm return to action Wednesday in Queens, hosting Columbia University.