Asked to fast forward 4 years and list his UCSB on the court accomplishments, Dalante’ Dunklin pulled no punches. Big West Freshman of the Year, Big West All-Defensive Team, All-Big West First Team, establish recognition on a national level, graduate, and positively impact his community. Dunklin certainly does not lack for confidence, and given his stellar play during his Francis Parker High (San Diego, Ca.) career, it’s tough to find fault with the lofty expectations. Taking it a step further, when asked to lay out his long-term goals/expectations, Dunklin doesn’t stop with a PG spot in the NBA, “I also want to be one of the best PG’s in the NBA”. Multi-sport legend Bo Jackson, when asked about goal setting, “Set your goals high, and don’t stop until you get there”, would clearly agree with the Dunklin approach.
Some list Dunklin as 5’11, others go with 6’0. End of the day there are plenty (YouTube footage below to back this up) whom have fallen victim to Dalante’s crazy hops, and may agree Dunklin’s official measurements have been rendered all but irrelevant. This is a jump out of the building type athlete with next level bounce. Listed by CalHiSports (8/21/11) as the State’s #22 overall recruit, the word on Dunklin has been out for some time, but given his stature, D1 programs may have shied away. Their mistake may very well be UCSB’s good fortune. Dalante’ is known for a non-stop motor and an energy level capable of wearing down even the most cardio stout opponent. His physicality is relentless as he takes a near football approach to the hardwood. As I watch film on Dunklin I can almost hear announcers referring to him as one of those players “you love when he’s on your team, and hate when he’s not”. That’s not meant to knock him on a personal level, more to pay homage to the havoc he wrecks on the opposition.
Height has yet to hold Dunklin back, but with each bump in level his stature will represent more of a challenge. He carries the lateral quickness necessary for PG success at the D1 level, time and development will determine if he possesses the handles and vision. At the High school level he consistently out-quicked opponents. Come D1 play he’ll need to rely more on court savvy and awareness as opponents will be more apt to match his agility. Dalante’ carries a decent jump-shot and has improving range. He’ll need to continue work in this area and force his defender to honor the outside game. The jumper doesn’t develop, and the defender can sag back and counter any speed advantage Dunklin may hold. His reputation as a hard worker leads me to believe he will put in the work necessary to refine this portion of his game.
On the D side Dunklin is an aggressive on-ball defender and is rarely out-muscled. As previously mentioned, we’ll see if this holds true as he hits the UCSB campus. The fact he listed Big West All-Defensive 1st Team as a goal signals he gets the importance of impacting both sides of the floor. This should serve him well as he looks to secure early playing time. A big challenge will arise in those instances in which Dalante’s matched up against a bigger man of equal agility. This is obviously the case for any defender, but given his 6’0 160lb frame, these occurrences will pop up more frequently for Dalante’. No work ethic or effort can impact height, so success on D will come down to technique, positioning, and focus.
I normally end with a note on projections. My initial read of Dalante’ Dunklin has me of the opinion he is not one to bet against. I’m simply going to defer to the opinion of the man most dialed into his game. Dunklin will be in the Big West Freshman of the Year conversation. He will nab one, if not multiple, All-Big West Defensive Team spots, and a Senior year to include a 1st Team All-Big West slot is not out of the question. Talent, drive, and work-ethic alone should lead Dunklin to continued success. He lists an additional motivator however, which may ultimately fuel his forward progress. When discussing NBA aspirations Dunklin went on to discuss a desire to use future earnings/status so as to lend backing to foundations in support of the battle to understand/combat Autism. His younger brother is living with the challenges brought to bear by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Critically important cause, and this is the type of young man built to meet the challenge. Not only will I not bet against Dalante’ Dunkin, I’ll be rooting for him.
If you’re interested in information regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder, or interested in making a donate to research/treatment, please consider the following:
The Hope Institute