Cade Cunningham has been one of the best rookies in the NBA since returning from an ankle injury. He had a rough start over the first few games of his return, but since has put up numbers not seen here since the days of Grant Hill, and Jerry Stackhouse. Ok to be fair, I begrudgingly have to include 2018-19 Blake Griffin too.
Also to note, Cade is just a rookie.
It’s easy to show all the numbers and basketball reasons why Cade is somebody to be excited about, but there’s more to this story than numbers.
Cunningham has had many observers appreciating his ability to score, composure during clutch moments, his natural ability to lead and make plays for his teammates.
Ultimately, what impresses me most? Cade cares about a lot more than basketball, and his camp does too.
“It takes a village…”
Cade has many amazing people in his circle, and I had the pleasure of speaking with his older brother Cannen Cunningham and cousin Ashton Bennings. Ashton aka Ashton Da Trainer trained Cade and Cannen, and both excelled in NCAA D1 basketball.
The introduction afforded a more intimate sense of who they are, and what they hope to accomplish in Detroit.
It became clearly evident that the desire Cade has to be great, comes from a desire to do great things for others. He knows the better he is, the more opportunity it grants to help those in need. That’s Cade’s fuel, and the motivation his camp keeps before them daily.
A group actively working, living, praying, struggling, striving and sacrificing together, for the benefit of those around them.
For all Detroiters, Michiganders, and Pistons fans, we got lucky! Because Cade, Cannen and Ashton all love Detroit just as much as we do and that this is their home, just as much as it is ours.
Walking the Walk
I mean absolutely no disrespect to Grant Hill who was in a different phase of life when drafted by the Pistons, but never fully seemed like he wanted to be a native.
That’s what makes Cade Cunningham that much more special to fans of the Pistons. The unique combination of high level talent and an even higher desire to be one of us.
When Detroit got the number one pick you could tell it wasn’t just how much the fans wanted Cade, but also how much Mr. Cunningham wanted Detroit.
On draft night walking up the red carpet taking pictures with the NBA backdrop behind, Cade rightfully Praised and gave shout outs to Detroit. But he made sure it was about the entire Great Lakes state of MICHIGAN. (And I’m pretty sure he even remembered the U.P.!)
A Message From Team Cunningham to the State of Michigan
When speaking with Ashton Bennings about what their goals are in Detroit, none of it was individually basketball focused.
“We as a unit, myself, Cannen and Cade are extremely blessed and excited to be apart of not only Detroit but the state of Michigan. Michigan has shown nothing but love and we have embraced every moment of it and we appreciate it so much. For myself I’m coaching middle school kids in Flint, Michigan. We [had] tryouts December 11th and 12th and once the team is organized in Flint, then I will make my way to Detroit and have Tryouts December 18th. I have linked up with Wealthy Brand and Taquon Buford to put together a shoe giveaway for the kids in Flint. Cade has done a lot of behind the scenes things as well, Such as a coat giveaway, handing out turkeys and much more. Cannen Cunningham has been giving out great knowledge to all the kids that reach out to him. We all are trying to still learn the city and still finding ways to contribute. This Summer Cannen [and I] will throw some camps in Michigan, we are still getting organized.”
Follow Ashton Bennings on Twitter and Instagram for the latest information on giveaways, basketball camps and more.
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