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Coming off the bench as a spark plug for the Virginia Cavaliers, freshman Ryan Dunn has quickly made his impact known during his first year in Charlottesville. Finding his role among a group of veteran players, Ryan has helped elevate the Cavaliers team as they currently sit ranked 8th in the country. Not heavily recruited out of high school, Ryan took a chance when he went to play for Virginia without a scholarship available. However, Ryan says it was a decision that he put in God’s hands.

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics
Growing up, Ryan has been guided by his faith throughout his life. Crediting his mom and their relationship for making him into who he is today, he says that he has learned to always trust God and talk to Him throughout the process. During his high school career, the lack of interest from colleges for Ryan could at times be discouraging. His mom, however, always made sure he remembered that God had a plan.

“My mom always took me to church. She instilled faith into me at a young age. Through my career in basketball, I was very under recruited which took a toll on me. Nobody knew who I was and that got me discouraged, but my mom always told me to pray and to give thanks for the opportunity that God put in my life.”

Ryan says that since enrolling at Virginia, he has seen that faith continue to grow as it guides him every day.

“Once I got here, I kept my faith going and it continues to play a big role in my life. Without God, I wouldn’t be here. He never left my side or judged me, I could not thank Him enough for what he has done in my life.”

The Cavaliers now own a 17-4 record on the season and are viewed as a major contender for the National Championship. Ryan says that throughout the journey, he has learned to treasure both the highs and the lows and appreciate every part of the process.

Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics
“Faith plays a big role because without God I wouldn’t be on this platform and journey that he has placed me on in my life.”

Ryan says that although the road has not always been an easy one, every part of it has made him into who he is today. And for that, he remains grateful.

“I feel God placed me on this journey for a reason.”

As the Cavaliers prepare to finish out their season and make a deep run in the upcoming March Madness tournament, Ryan’s journey is only just beginning. As he looks ahead, he says that he wants to use his career to show others what God has done in and through Him.

“The biggest impact that I want to show everyone is that God is in me. I want to display all the gifts that he put into my body and show them out on the court.”

While coach Tony Bennett was drawn to Ryan because of his skills on the court, it was his humility and maturity that also stood out. One of the most impressive young men that you could meet, Ryan’s drive and passion for basketball and for making a difference are inspiring. As he looks to continue that impact for years to come, he will continue to demonstrate God’s love and grace each and every day.


Ethan Kruse

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