Before he even played his first varsity game this season, Loyola junior guard Kevin Cunningham had plenty of expectations placed on him.
Loyola head coach Tom Livatino, a big fan from the beginning, didn’t shy away from declaring Cunningham’s potential.
“He’s like a bundle of [2014 graduates] James Clarke, Kevin Kucera and Jack Morrissey,” Livatino said in the preseason. “He can do everything. He doesn’t have any weaknesses. He’s not the strongest player physically, but he plays like it. He can shoot, handle and defend. He was the best player on the sophomore team last season.”
The 6-foot Cunningham, who has started every game this season, said he embraced the big talk about him.
“I really like that because it pushes me,” he said. “I never want to settle. I want to keep getting better. [Livatino] always is trying to get the most out of his every player, and I know he’s trying to get the most out of me.”
Cunningham’s performance in Florida was a big reason why the Ramblers finished 4-0 and won the Gulfshore Holiday Hoopfest. He was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 12.3 points and 2.5 steals. He went 13-for-38 from 3-point range.
For the season, Cunningham is averaging 9.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals. His 41 3-pointers are most on the team, and he’s making 36.3 of his attempts from beyond the arc.
“I think I could have played better [in Florida],” Cunningham said. “I mean, I was happy with how I played, but I could have been more consistent shooting the ball. I could have made a few better decisions with the ball. But I am much more comfortable out there than I was at the start of the season. I am getting into the groove of things. It helps that the guys trust me. The support of my teammates has been huge.”
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola