In August of 2016, the University of New Mexico received a commitment from 2018 Albuquerque (NM) power forward, Marlon Cunningham. When the program parted ways with head coach Craig Neal in April of 2017, Cunningham decided to reopen his recruitment. He’s been considered the top 2018 prospect from the state of New Mexico according to 247Sports, and has put up the numbers to back it up.
At 6’7″ and 240 pounds, Cunningham has the frame to withstand contact and bang inside with post players. He’s helped his Albuquerque High School team to a 3-0 start, and recently posted a stat line of 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 assists against Palo Duro (TX). When speaking on his big game, Cunningham said, “Going into the game I knew my team was going to rely on me. From playing in the EYBL and Adidas circuit over the summer, I knew the competition in Texas was a lot better. I just kept myself on the floor and didn’t get in foul trouble.”
“As long as I stay out of foul trouble, I can put up those kind of numbers every night,” said Cunningham. Those type of numbers are eye-popping on any stat line, but even with his solid play no other Division 1 schools have come calling for the New Mexico gem.
“I think a lot of people still think I’m committed to New Mexico,” said Cunningham on why he thinks no other Division 1 schools have jumped in the picture. “When they hired Coach Weir it was hard for me to stay committed to a school that I didn’t really know the coach,” he added.
Despite de-committing from New Mexico, he’s in no rush to make a decision at this time. “Right now, I’m just focusing on the high school season. Our team is really good and I feel like we can win a state championship. I’m taking it slow because at the end of the day I know I’ll still have my school paid for,” said Cunningham.
He currently holds offers from Division 2 schools New Mexico Highlands and Adams State, but plans to let the process play out before making another commitment. He hasn’t ruled out recommitting to New Mexico either, but says he needs to build a better relationship with Coach Weir first.
“I had a great relationship with Coach Neal. He’d been in contact with me since my eighth grade year and I talked to him all the time,” said Cunningham, “I just need to build a better relationship with Coach Weir first before I make a decision.”
Cunningham’s game isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done. He rebounds well and will run the floor in transition. His frame allows him to post up defenders in the paint and work for baskets down low. He’s not the new-school big with a polished outside jumper, but does the little things to make up where he lacks in skill. It’s hard to say where or what level he’ll be playing at next season, but Cunningham will bring a high IQ, energy, and a passion for the game to his future school.