Michael Dunigan is relatively well known by basketball fans in Oregon. After prepping at Farragut Academy – the same school that produced future hall-of-famer Kevin Garnett – Dunnigan played for the University of Oregon Ducks for two seasons before electing to play professionally in Europe.
A 6-10, 254-pound Center, Dunigan averaged a combined 11.3 ppg and 7.4 rebounds while playing for three different European league teams during the 2010-2011 season, stats that may help him be drafted by an NBA team this year, before his European buyout increases next season.
“I still have a contract [in Jerusalem] which will be able to get buy out by an NBA team,” said Dunigan. “But that’s up to the guys over here.”
Soft hands around the rim and his solid jump-hook make him a threat down low. Compound that with his NBA-sized body and the ability to play the four and the five and his stock keeps rising. Dunigan continues to develop his game by concentrating on defense and consistently hitting the midrange jumper.
“In the league you have to guard bigger and smaller defenders, so you’re showing the scouts what you can do against small guards,” said Dunigan. “I’ve been working on my 17-footer and losing weight and just being able to get up and down the floor. They like what I’m doing and what I’ve been doing. And being able to show them that I’m just trying to stay positive and keep and open mind about it.”
Trail Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan acknowledges Dunigan’s skills on the court, his intense disposition and his potential for growth as strong positives for the young big-man.
“Michael Dunigan is just a warrior. He’s just a physical battler, limited skill wise, but keeps his game pretty simple. Long, physical, pretty quick off the floor,” Buchanan said. “I think he’s going to be a defensive type role player at the next level. He may have to work his way up, whether it be through the D-League or overseas because I still think he’s got a lot of room to grow.”
The warrior mentality combined with size and potential may be enough to convince the Trail Blazers or another NBA team to draft him.