Duquesne has gone the Division II route for the latest addition to its basketball program.
Graduate transfer R.J. Gunn from Lenoir-Rhyne University has announced his commitment to Keith Dambrot’s program. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound native of Columbia, South Carolina becomes the first new addition to the Dukes roster for the 2021-22 season.
Gunn was a guard at Lenoir-Rhyne but will be a stretch four at Duquesne and has post up ability. This past season, Gunn averaged 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 47.5% from the field and 38.8% (38-98) from 3-point range. That performance earned Gunn First Team All-Conference, an honor he also earned during the 2019-20 season.
During his four seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne, Gunn was a 1,000-point scorer and is looking forward to taking his talents to a higher level playing with Duquesne in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
“I feel like I’m up for the challenge. I played four years at Division-II and was pretty successful,” said Gunn. “Both team wise and me personally, so before I take that next step into hopefully becoming a pro, I wanted to test myself first at a higher level college and see if I can accept that challenge and also be successful there. I want to help the team win and also be successful personally.
“A few days after I put my name in the portal, Coach McFadden from Duquesne called me and introduced himself to me as well as things about the Duquesne program. Later that day, I got to talk to Coach Dambrot and after everything they told me about the school, I got to see a lot of videos about the school, watched a couple of their games and then went on a Zoom Call with my parents with their entire coaching staff. We just fell in love with everything about Duquesne and everything they had to offer. I really believe this is a good situation for me.”,
In terms of things that impressed him most about Duquesne’s recruiting pitch to him, Gunn listed Duquesne’s offensive pro style attack as well as the opportunity for him to earn his Master’s degree at Duquesne.
“Basketball, at some point is going to come to an end, hopefully that comes later than sooner but it will at some point,” he said. “The fact that I’ll be able to get my Masters degree there, especially coming from that school was a big part of this.”
As far as the basketball aspect, I asked Gunn what the Duquesne coaches have told him about what they’re expecting his role to be with his new team.
“Coming in and playing a lot of defense and with my ability to shoot, I can come there and help stretch the floor a bit,” Gunn said. “But we talked about being able to defend and rebound the basketball. We talked about me coming in and getting in real good shape, getting stronger and quicker so that I can come in and hit the boards and get work done underneath. I take pride in doing whatever it will take to help the team win. I know things aren’t going to be pretty all the time but in the end, I want to win so whatever that looks like and whatever I can help with, that’s what I’m going to do.”