Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Grandmother plays big part in 4-star's game
ESPN 4-star prospect Barry Dunning said he playfully asked his grandmother Helen Myers to the homecoming dance. “Honestly my grandmother is the biggest person in my life,” said Dunning, a University of Arkansas target who is rated ESPN’s No. 10 small forward. (Photo courtesy Barry Dunning)
ESPN 4-star prospect Barry Dunning embraces and relies on his grandmother Helen Myers’ 84 years of wisdom.
“Honestly my grandmother is the biggest person in my life,” Dunning said. “I love my mom and my dad. I love them with all my heart, but my grandma is my rock. She’s one reason why I play basketball so hard.”
Dunning, 6-6, 185 pounds, of Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen Catholic is also rated ESPN’s No. 10 small forward and the No. 44 overall prospect in the nation for the 2022 class and the No. 1 player in Alabama.
The University of Arkansas target enjoys having his grandmother living at home.
“It just makes the whole atmosphere in the household better,” Dunning said. “Thinking about not having my grandmother not living with me, my life would probably be boring in the house.”
His grandmother raised three children, including Dunning’s mother, a son who’s a retired prison warden and former University of Arkansas at Little Rock and NBA guard Pete Myers.
“The biggest thing she taught me is to just go get it, because she’s always been in the situation where she always had to go get it,” Dunning said.
Dunning said his grandmother is knowledgeable about the game of basketball and is always harping on him about one particular part of the game.
“She’ll just come in my room and be like, ‘Grandson I told you about making those free throws, always make your free throws,’ ” he said. “She doesn’t care if I’m missing layups, but when I get to the free-throw line, always knock down your free throws.”
The covid-19 pandemic has kept his grandmother from attending his games this season.
“They broadcast some of my games,” he said. “The happy thing for her is just watching me play.”
Dunning, who has a 3.5 grade point average, is likable, personable and engaging. His grandmother urges him not to allow the attention and notoriety change him.
“She always told me to be the sweet, kind, lovable grandson that loves the game of basketball, enjoys his family,” Dunning said. “Just never change, don’t try to compare my life to everyone else’s life. Just be who I am and accept it and embrace it and use my personality to help others and inspire others.”
In early November, Dunning praised Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman and his staff and expressed his love for the program. The Hogs haven’t slacked off in coming hard for him in hopes he’s a Razorback.
“They just keep picking it up, picking it up, picking it up,” Dunning said. “I like I say, I love Arkansas. They all said they see something in me and believe in me. I’ve been watching a lot of their games and I can see myself in the offense. It’s amazing, it feels like family a little bit. They always check on me and always wish me well on my games.”
Director of basketball operations Anthony Ruta has FaceTimed with Dunning and his parents while showing off Arkansas’ facilities and campus.
“Coach Ruta came to me with open arms, meaning he really showed me that Arkansas wanted me,” Dunning said. “Also he shared with me a lot [of] old school rock music which is very catchy and gets me pumped. He showed me and my parents what Arkansas basketball was about and showed my parents that will probably be the best place for me to go.”
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