Blazers Sign Dante Cunningham

Update (11:32PM): Pooh Jeter, Dante's Summer League teammate checks in via twitter to say...

@blazersedge Congrats to Dante Cunningham. You deserve it fam.    

Follow Pooh on twitter here.

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Per a text message from the team...

The Trail Blazers have signed rookie forward Dante Cunningham to a multi-year contract.

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Cunningham, a four year player out of Villanova, was selected with the 33rd overall selection in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft. He completed an impressive, somewhat surprising Summer League stint in Las Vegas, displaying nice range and a great nose for the ball. He is expected to play backup forward but is seen as something of a tweener.

Cunningham's signing comes as no surprise given his impressive Summer League and the fact that the Blazers are somewhat short on bodies.  Cunningham is the 12th Blazer under contract.

No word yet on Jeff Pendergraph, who was also taken in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft.  Last I spoke with Kevin Pritchard following Brandon Roy's contract extension press conference, Pritchard said there was "no timeline" on either Cunningham's or Pendergraph's signing but believed both would be done before training camp.

Here's the full press release from the team courtesy of Blazers.com.

Trail Blazers Sign Dante Cunningham
Rookie forward becomes the 12th player on Portland's roster

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers signed rookie forward Dante Cunningham to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. 

"We are really excited about the versatility and determination Dante brings to our team," said Pritchard. "Dante had a great summer league and we believe he has the potential to become a very good player in this league." 

Selected by the Trail Blazers with the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Cunningham led Portland's 2009 NBA Summer League entry with 18.3 points to go with a team second-best 5.8 rebounds and 1.50 steals in four games (all starts). 

"I am so grateful and happy to be a Trail Blazer," said Cunningham. "This is a dream come true and I can't wait to get to work with my teammates. I'm looking forward to moving to Portland and helping this team in any way that I can." 

Cunningham, 22, played in a school-record 139 games during his four-year career at Villanova and is one of six players in school history to reach 1,300 points and 800 rebounds. The 6-8, 230-pound Maryland native finished his collegiate career with averages of 9.6 points (52.4% FG), 5.9 rebounds and 1.17 steals. 

As a senior, Cunningham was named the Big East's Most Improved Player and was a member of the All-Big East Second Team after leading the Wildcats with collegiate highs of 16.1 points and 7.5 boards. 

The signing of Cunningham boosts the Trail Blazers' current roster to 12 players. He will wear jersey number 33.    

-- Ben (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com)

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