Most Viewed Stories
Dante's Inferno rises
Cunningham Orange Belt Player of Year
Dante Cunningham has made a lasting impact at Granite Hills High.
“The things that he has done are going to last,” Granite Hills boys basketball coach Bud Luther said. “He’s put down the foundation for the future. He’s worked hard. Dante’s very coachable.”
Cunningham is the only four-year varsity play in boys basketball in Granite history and he finished his career with an outstanding senior season. For all of this, Cunningham has been named as The Recorder’s Orange Belt Player of the Year in boys basketball. The top players from Granite, Porterville, Monache, Lindsay and Strathmore High Schools were chosen for the all-Orange Belt team.
During the past year for Granite, Cunningham averaged 17 points a game and shot 52 percent on two-point field goal attempts, impressive stats since Cunningham was the focal point of the Grizzlies’ offense. For his career, Cunningham had 151 assists (1.9 a game), 541 rebounds (8.9 a game) and 948 points (12.1 a game) in 78 games. Cunningham would have gone well over 1,000 points for his career if not for injuries throughout his time at Granite. Cunningham was also a unanimous all-East Yosemite League first team pick for this past season by the EYL’s coaches. Cunningham was also an all-EYL first team receiver this past season in football.
Cunningham scored a career-high 31 points this season against Farmersville and fittingly had arguably his best overall game on the night he was inducted into the Granite Wall of Fame. On that night he led Granite to a win over Robert F. Kennedy as he nearly had a triple double with 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
“It felt great,” said Cunningham about going into the Wall of Fame. “It was surprising because I walked out of the locker room and I was looking up and I’m like ‘what.’”
Cunnigham said he hopes to become a teacher and coach. Among his options is to play at Porterville College. Cunningham is also now playing for an AAU team, the Wildcats, based on the Central Coast, which he hopes will give him more exposure as far as the college level is concerned.
About his time at Granite, Cunningham said, “It was great. I loved it. I have lots of friends. I had a great coach. I learned a lot.”
Here’s the rest of the all-Orange Belt team:
Courtland Duckworth, Porterville — Duckworth was named to the all-EYL second team, but arguably should have been named to the all-EYL first team. He was Porterville’s all-around leader.
Daniel Hernandez, Monache — Another outstanding all-around player who was named to the all-EYL second team, but arguably should have been named to the all-EYL first team as well.
Jorge Ibarra, Strathmore — An all-East Sequoia League second team pick, Ibarra averaged 12.6 points, 8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
Chris Misaaleafua, Lindsay — An all-ESL first team pick, Misaaleafua averaged 12.5 points a game.