Auburn, ME - The Central Maine Athletic Director and Head Men's Basketball Coach Dave Gonyea is pleased to announce AJ Cunningham, a 6'6" small forward from Warrnambool, Australia has signed on for the fall of 2019.
After rejecting a scholarship offer from a school in Minnesota, AJ and his dad reached out to us to see where we were in our recruiting process. We had previously spoke with dad (dad is a well-known coach in Melbourne) regarding another aussie player and when that didn't work out agreed to keep in touch. Two weeks later AJ decided to go another direction, contacted us, and we moved forward. Like many other Aussies, our present players were instrumental in guiding AJ and dad helping with his decision. Captain, Corey David and AJ kept in touch throughout the process with AJ landing in Maine in early August.
Head coach Dave Gonyea responded, "AJ is a big kid who has a nice touch and is comfortable with the ball in his hands. At 6'6", he will be expected to rebound, clean up around the glass, and out size, out muscle, smaller opponents. However, he can shoot it outside and we will explore how we use him out there. A quiet kid, it will take him a bit to understand how we do things but I suspect with his previous coaching and his basketball IQ will give him a step up. Anytime you can bring a kid in whose dad is a coach, it becomes a real advantage."
AJ answered the questions below.
CM: Why did you choose CM?
AJ: Of the schools that reached out, I felt that CM made a great effort of contacting me and explaining what would be for me to feel, as it's a home away from home.
CM: What did you like most about the campus?
AJ: I really like where I'm staying. That's probably what I like the most. Staying in an apartment with my teammates is great.
CM: How do you think playing college basketball will differ from your previous experience?
AJ: I think the schedule will be more hectic than what I am used to. I definitely feel skill wise I can compete at a high standard.
CM: What are you looking forward to about attending and playing basketball at CM?
AJ: From a young age, I knew that I wanted to play college basketball. I'm most excited for the whole college experience, especially the school part of things.
CM: What do you think you can ring to the team next year?
AJ: Confidence and leadership! I know after the first year, I will adapt to the play style to better myself.
CM: Describe your basketball experience.
AJ: Finishing high school, I led my team to a state championship. Unfortunately, I got injured in the national finals.
CM: What is your biggest strength in basketball:
AJ: I'm a strong big-man who can shoot and find an open player for a better look.
AJ will be studying Building Construction Technology at CM.
- Played 35-40 minutes a game in high school: averaging 18.8 ppg—9.2 rpg-5.1 apg -- and led school to a state championship.
- Member of Student Council