Last time around, we began our dive into Carolina’s incoming freshmen class by previewing Dontrez Styles. I brought up Kerwin Walton’s emergence last season and how he was able to fill a major hole with his shooting ability. I detailed how Styles’ athleticism and relentless motor could similarly satisfy some needs for this year’s squad. Well, our next player could also draw comparisons to Walton, but more so in his actual style of play. So, to conclude our examination of the Tar Heels’ 2021 class, let’s take a look at D’Marco Dunn.
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Dunn is a 6’4, 180-pound shooting guard out of Fayetteville, North Carolina. According to 247sports composite rankings, he’s the 64th ranked player nationally, 14th at shooting guard, and third in the state. He committed to Carolina last September, choosing the Heels over Vanderbilt, Arizona, and others.
After spending his first two years of high school in Arizona, Dunn transferred to Westover High School in Fayetteville to finish things out. Before this move, he was not a particularly sought after recruit. As a junior, he averaged 20.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game as Westover enjoyed a 30-0 regular season before having their run cut short in the state playoffs due to the pandemic. However, it was more than enough for scouts to start taking notice and, as a result, Dunn began shooting up the rankings.
Despite only playing 14 games as a senior, Dunn managed to eclipse those gaudy numbers to the tune of 23.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.7 steals. As one of the hottest players in the country, it’s not unreasonable to assume that he would’ve climbed even higher had he been given more opportunities to properly showcase his abilities. Regardless, he has done more than enough to get fans excited about his potential to flourish at the next level and beyond.
So, how does Dunn fit in with the Tar Heels’ current roster in year one? As a guard/wing that’ll likely spend most, if not all of his time at either the two or three position, he’ll be competing for minutes with guys like Kerwin Walton, Leaky Black, Anthony Harris, Puff Johnson, and Dontrez Styles. Caleb Love and RJ Davis will also be in that mix but one of those two will presumably be running point at all times.
Dunn’s best attribute is his ability to knock down threes. Of the names mentioned above, all of them except Black and Styles (and maybe Harris) figure to be deep threats this upcoming season. That being said, only one of those guys (Walton) has proven he can consistently hit those outside shots at the college level. With better-than-average size and nice elevation on his jumper, Dunn should receive plenty of opportunities to flaunt his three-point prowess. Coming off a year in which the Heels struggled mightily from beyond the arc, Hubert Davis has been vocal about his desire to play guys that can make shots. It’s easier said than done but if Dunn can do that, he could carve out a serious role.
Moreover, Dunn is certainly not limited to his shooting ability. He’s not crazy explosive per se, but he’s a solid athlete and figures to be one of the flashier players on this team. While he still has some work to do on his ball-handling, Dunn has more than enough skill to be effective running the floor in transition, especially when paired with guys like Love and Davis. Above all else, though, Dunn is an extremely hard worker, and that’s largely how he’s made his name up to this point.
Pulled from an InsideCarolina report done last year, former Carolina head coach Roy Williams previously had this to say about Dunn: “He can really shoot the basketball and has a tremendous work ethic. He’s going to pass a lot of people by who have better ‘ratings’ because of his work ethic. He’s doing that now and will continue to do that in the future.”
The Tar Heels are getting a guy in Dunn who could make an immediate impact as a scorer and shooter. His relentlessness and diligence in the gym will only generate positive things, not just for himself but also for his teammates. From a coaching perspective, he’s exactly the type of young gun you want because even if he doesn’t contribute much as a freshman, Dunn will at least keep everyone else on their toes.