With Lexington (Ky.) Henry Clay down as many as 13 points against Lexington (Ky.) Catholic in the first half of the Republic Bank Holiday Classic, Christen Cunningham knew he needed to score more.
So that’s exactly what the 6-foot junior guard did, scoring 17 points in the second half and helping Henry Clay to the championship win.
“The first half we were down and the second half I knew I was going to have to be more aggressive scoring wise,” Cunningham said. “I distributed the ball in the first half, but I didn’t score much.”
“They sagged off of me and I’ve been working on my mid-range so it was a good time to use that,” he added.
To go with his 17 points, Cunningham added eight assists, four rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over.
Cunningham credits his hard work in the off season to his recent on the court improvements.
“I’ve been working ever since AAU ended,” Cunningham said. “I’m getting to where I can hit a set three, so I needed a middle game, especially as a point guard you need a one dribble pull-up.”
“You have to out work everybody,” he added. “I’ve always been the underdog. I’ve just been working on my game since my freshman year.”
Over the past few years, Cunningham’s teammates Jordan Green and Trey Grundy have received more attention, but now the notoriety is starting to pick up for him.
“Jordan and Trey have always gotten more attention than me and I’ve used that as a driving factor to work hard,” he said. “I keep trying to help those guys get better, knowing that the attention will come eventually.”
Samford and Morehead State have offered Cunningham. He also has picked up recent interest from Houston, Western Kentucky, Bucknell, Wright State, Stanford, Marshall, Seton Hall and Florida International.
“I’m supposed to visit Wright State and Marshall,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham hasn’t set up visit dates to either school.