Within a 24-hour period, recently graduated Seneca standout Gavin Dunnam pulled off a nifty double-feat.
On Friday night, Dunnam caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Braeden Hinton and helped the West to a 42-3 win over the East in the 17th annual Grin Iron Classic at Parkview High’s JFK Stadium.
On Saturday night, Dunnam scored a game-high 25 points and showed why he became Seneca’s all-time leading rebounder, but Blue took a 89-79 loss to White in the 39th annual Lions All-Star Twin Classic at Neosho High.
In a rare moment for any basketball all-star game, Dunnam was called for a traveling violation on a set shot 3-pointer in the second half.
“It is a first for me,” Dunnam said of back-to-back all-star games on back-to-back days in different sports. “I didn’t expect to be playing in both of them and I didn’t think I would be physically available enough to do it. It was challenging mentally, but going through the week with football that helped shape wise with basketball. Coming into this, I was looking forward to having fun. Basketball’s a real fun sport for me.
“The football game, it was a fantastic time. We executed very well, and we did the same in basketball. I mean, the outcome wasn’t the same, but the spirits were up and it was a lot of fun.”
For the basketball game, Dunnam seemed to have bonded well with fellow Newton County players Dustin McDermott (East Newton) and Brady Wise (Neosho), something that happens in an all-star game after the high school rivalries become the past.
“That’s kind of funny,” Dunnam said. “My parents were asking me, because a lot of the guys I played with (Saturday), we actually don’t like each other during season ‘cause we don’t want to face them, they’re too good, that type of thing. Whenever we came together, we got along first day and everybody, talent appreciates talent. Iron sharpens iron, my dad always says, and me and Dustin (McDermott) are best friends now. All the guys are fantastic guys.”
Dunnam took an opportunity to let the magnitude of both all-star games sink in.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “To be honored for everything that we’ve done, not just me but everybody, it’s an amazing opportunity to fund raise for people in need and it’s also a great opportunity for us as athletes to come together and participate in that.”
Friday and Saturday were not Dunnam’s first experiences with an all-star, high-caliber talent level athletic event.
Dunnam played on the USA Football 18-and-under team at tight end in 2017, as Team USA won the North American Championship against Canada.
“It’s when talent meets talent,” Dunnam said. “It’s a challenge. It helps you develop better skills going against talent. Being able to come to this, if you’re going to continue your career in college, it’s a great opportunity to develop into that better athleticism that you need for (the next level).”
Dunnam said that he’s undecided on his future college plans.