Cunningham has a rough rookie season in NBA

2013-06-13T00:00:00Z Cunningham has a rough rookie season in NBABy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Jared Cunningham had his share of struggles in his first season in the NBA.

The former Oregon State star was picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the No. 24 spot in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, then traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

He had taken a calculated risk by deciding to turn pro after his junior season in 2012 and was eager to show his athleticism and all-around skills at the next level.

Injuries, however, have limited those opportunities.

He was hobbled by a hamstring problem and missed summer league play.

The tough one was tendinitis in his right knee.

“I injured myself early in the season last year, so I didn’t play most of the end of the season, half of the season,” said Cunningham, who was in Corvallis for the opening of the basketball practice facility.

“I’ve pretty much been rehabbing and getting ready for summer league.”

Cunningham wound up playing in eight games for the Mavericks and getting in for a total of 26 minutes. He averaged 2 points a game.

In late February, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle talked to the Dallas Morning News about Cunningham’s situation.

“I wouldn’t call it a lost season,” Carlisle said. “He’s gotten a lot of work in, and he’s gotten a fair amount of experience and he now understands what an NBA season is about. But we’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to make sure he gets healthy. And we’ll go from there.”

Cunningham did play 15 games for the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League, starting 13 and showing flashes of the play that made him one of the Pac-12 Conference’s top players as a junior.

Cunningham scored 15.3 points a game and averaged 3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Cunningham said it was a challenge to get used to the NBA game and lifestyle.

“So it was pretty much new to me,” he said. “I think I adjusted pretty well. As far as the injury happening, that kind of set me back, but right now I’m pretty much healthy. I’ve been working out since the season ended, since April.”

He said he’s back to running, jumping and, yes, dunking.

“I just ice every day and pray,” he said.

Kevin Hampton is sports reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9519 or kevin.hampton@lee.net.

Copyright 2016 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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