CJ Gunn, the No. 112 player in his class per 247Sports, originally committed to Indiana men’s basketball under former head coach Archie Miller on February 7, 2021, about a month before Miller was let go.
Mike Woodson got to work immediately to secure Gunn’s commitment, which paid off when Gunn reaffirmed his commitment just three days after Woodson was hired.
As a 6’5”, 175 lbs shooting guard, Gunn seems to fit the physical profile for the kind of guard Mike Woodson will recruit going forward. With the exception of 2023 point guard Gabe Cupps, every guard Woodson has signed has been at least 6’3.
Woodson also knows the value of keeping recruiting momentum in the state, especially the Indianapolis area, which figures to produce another top five national prospect in 2023’s Xavier Booker. Re-recruiting Gunn gave Woodson a chance to flex some of those Indianapolis ties early, since Gunn’s father knew people in common with Mike Woodson already, which helped the family feel comfortable reaffirming their commitment.
As a senior at Lawrence North, Gunn was a finalist for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball award, averaging 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. He shot 37.4% on 123 3-point. attempts last year, which would have ranked behind only Xavier Johnson and Parker Stewart on last year’s Indiana squad.
The upward trajectory of Gunn’s career suggests that he could have a higher ceiling than his recruiting ranking indicates. As a junior, Gunn averaged just 13.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, but still shot an impressive 38% from deep, which should be some assurance that his high 3 pt.% was no senior year fluke.
Shooting has been the focal point of Gunn’s game for years now, and he spent the summer training with the shooting coach who worked with Miami’s Nijel Pack, another Indianapolis product, and Indiana Women’s basketball player Sydney Parrish. At this stage, his coaches report that he’s best in catch and shoot scenarios, which should just work fine alongside distributors like Jalen Hood-Schifino and Xavier Johnson.
At 185 lbs., Gunn could probably stand to gain a few pounds between now and the start of the Big Ten season to be ready for any significant minutes. He’s not projected to be an instant impact defender, partially for that reason, but he knows he’ll have to prioritize defense to fit into Mike Woodson’s long term plans.
Realistically, given Indiana’s current roster, Gunn could see minutes as a spot-up shooter immediately, depending on how he and the rest of Indiana’s wings/shooting guards are shooting at the moment.
Tamar Bates and Miller Kopp figure to be in the best position for the last starting spot as of now, but if Gunn is outshooting them - as his high school stats suggest he could - he could see decent minutes off the bench. Miller Kopp and Parker Stewart’s roles last year have demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice defense for a true outside shooting threat.
Gunn was able to score at all three levels in high school as the centerpiece for Lawrence North’s offense, something he showed off in his MVP performance with the Indiana All Stars in their annual game against Kentucky’s all-stars. Gunn scored 20 in the game, including three threes in a 104-77 win for Indiana.
As stated, his role as a freshman is likely going to be limited to that of a shooter, if he earns it in practice. In time though, with his long frame and ability to run an offense as a shooting guard, Gunn should be a nice piece for Indiana to have down the line, especially with true point guards like Gabe Cupps set to join him in the backcourt in the near future.