Kellen Dunham must step up in 2015-16 for Butler Bulldogs

The Butler Bulldogs are heading into an uncertain 2015-16 season, where they are hoping to make yet another tournament run. They were able to finish the 2014-15 season with a 23-11 record and went 12-6 in Big East action. After all of the head coaching drama that ended with Sean Miller being let go and Chris Holtmann being hired, the Bulldogs will have had a full offseason of working on becoming familiar with each other and their system.

One of the key players for the upcoming season is going to be senior guard Kellen Dunham. He has been improving each and every season since joining the Bulldogs in 2012-13, and has to break out into the star potential that many have seen in him for the Bulldogs to have a chance at making another deep tournament run.

At 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, he has extremely close similarities to Gordon Hayward during his final season at Butler.

Dunham ended up averaging 16.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season, but only averaged 0.9 assists. He knocked down 42.9 percent of his overall field goal attempts, and an impressive 41.0 percent of his three-point shots.

There are quite a few areas that Dunham has to improve in as the 2015-16 season continues to draw closer. He needs to bulk a bit more first of all in order to get inside and finish strong. Defenders have found it too easy to frustrate him by bumping him around, and that has to change this year if he wants to take the next step and reach his full potential.

Another big improvement that has to be made is as a playmaker. Averaging 0.9 assists per game for a starting guard is quite simply unacceptable, and he hasn’t been capable of getting his teammates involved with his passing. Being able to change that and become a dangerous passer setting his teammates up will force defenses to respect his pass rather than focusing on defending his shot 100 percent of the time.

Shot selection has been an issue for Dunham throughout his collegiate career as well. There are times where he’ll settle for a poor shot when being patient would have opened him up for a much better look.

Being more aggressive getting to the rim is another area that would make his life easier on the court. He shot 85.0 percent from the free-throw line last season, which should give him even more incentive to be aggressive getting to the rim and the line. Standing around outside the three-point arc won’t get that job done, and that has to change a bit this coming season.

Butler has put a very good team around Dunham, and there is no question that he is their top offensive threat. He can knock down shots from anywhere on the court, and is very good at moving around without the basketball and getting open.

If he wants to follow in the steps of Hayward and have a chance at making the NBA, he has to do everything mentioned above. Bulking up, working on his playmaking, being more aggressive and taking better shots are all keys for him to reach his full potential and become the star that Butler needs him to become.

Expect to see him making quite a few improvements to his game, and be a legitimate go-to scorer for the Bulldogs in the 2015-16 season.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

Five-star guard Rawle Alkins cuts list to ten schools
Five-star guard Rawle Alkins cuts list to ten schools