Boys Basketball: Morgan Park’s Josh Cunningham commits to Bradley
By Joe Henricksen For Sun-Times Media April 29, 2014 8:30PM
Josh Cunningham blocks out in the paint for a rebound. | Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times Media.
Updated: June 1, 2014 6:32AM
With schools from the Big Ten, Big East and SEC in hot pursuit, Josh Cunningham stuck with the one that was on him from start to finish.
The Morgan Park senior, one of the top uncommitted prospects remaining in the country, committed to coach Geno Ford and Bradley on Tuesday afternoon. The Missouri Valley Conference school beat out Indiana, St. John’s, South Carolina, Creighton and other high-major programs.
“I felt like I could make a bigger and more significant impact at Bradley,” Cunningham said of his choice to choose Bradley. “With the players they have returning and coming in, I felt we could do some big things.”
It was quite a recruiting process for Cunningham, one of the top 10 prospects in the talented Class of 2014 in Illinois. He was ranked No. 88 in the country by Rivals.com and No. 98 by ESPN.com. He also was a member of the SouthtownStar 2013-14 All-Area Team.
In the fall, Oklahoma, Creighton, Minnesota, Iowa State and Bradley firmly were entrenched in Cunningham’s recruitment. The athletic 6-7 forward took four official visits last year, including one to Bradley, prior to the early signing period but decided to play out his senior year.
After leading Morgan Park to its second straight Class 3A state championship in March, Cunningham’s recruitment continued to pick up steam. Indiana, South Carolina and St. John’s all entered the picture as the season wore on.
“I went back and forth on the decision, especially after taking each visit,” Cunningham said. “But after each visit and being undecided, it was always Bradley that I came back to at the end.”
It was Bradley, with assistant coach and Chicago native Ronald Coleman — who has strong ties to Cunningham’s Mac Irvin Fire program — that remained a constant presence through it all. Coleman helped Bradley secure arguably its biggest recruit since Mitchell Anderson three decades ago.
“I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and the players there,” Cunningham said. “I want to play to the best of my abilities, help Bradley get to the next level and get them back to the NCAA Tournament.”
Bradley has its biggest recruit in years. Cunningham is a player with true difference-making potential in the Missouri Valley Conference. In addition to Cunningham’s length and athleticism, he’s tough, plays with a motor and is extremely active on the glass and defensively. He rebounds at a high level and is capable and willing to defend multiple positions.
His offensive game continues to evolve. While he thrives in running the floor, finishing in transition and on the offensive glass with putbacks and dunks, Cunningham occasionally will drop in an improving jumper from beyond the three-point line.
“I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the state and the country,” Irvin said. “He impacts games every time he plays. Every time. And he’s only going to get better.”
Cunningham joins a recruiting class at Bradley that just recently secured 6-9 Jermaine Morgan, a highly regarded junior college prospect and Whitney Young product. Morgan, another Coleman recruit, originally was headed to Washington State out of Moberly Area Community College. However, with the coaching change at Washington State, Morgan opened up his recruitment and is headed to Bradley.