Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Silky smooth wing and California native Chris Bunch has committed to Syracuse, picking the Orange over his other finalists, Washington and Rutgers. Following an impressive showing on the Nike EYBL circuit in July playing for Team WhyNot (CA), Bunch packed his bags for Utah to finish out his prep career at Wasatch Academy, where he and the Tigers will compete in the inaugural season of the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference, amongst some of the top competition in the country.
In addition to unpacking the decision to commit to Syracuse, Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier spoke with Bunch about his background, his transfer to Wasatch, his on-court development, being mentored by KD, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Syracuse commit Chris Bunch, from Alamo, California:
Pro Insight: First off — for those that don’t know you or haven’t read our first interview with you, how did you get to where you are today?
Chris Bunch: Basically, I really started playing basketball competitively around eighth grade — that’s when I really started getting into it. Since then, it’s been hard...it’s been four years of just grinding every single day. I’ve been in the gym, taking no days off, and just learning to listen to older people like my dad and my trainer...and just knowing that this is something I want to do for the rest of my life. My parents really instilled in me at a young age that you can do anything if you work hard, so that’s why I’m here today.
PI: How has it felt to get all this attention from different college programs?
CB: It’s been crazy. Like, thinking back to a couple of years ago, I would just look and see all the other top kids getting all these offers and I’d dream about that. I used to imagine, like, “I’ll never be up there…” Now just like that, today, I’m committing. It’s unbelievable. Just thinking about everything me and my family have been through, it’s been a process. Most definitely, it’s been a process.
PI: What led to the decision to join Wasatch Academy?
CB: I decided to transfer to Wasatch Academy, because I felt like it was the best place for me to go to just focus on basketball and lock in for college. Me and my dad had always talked about going to prep school and as long as my mom was okay with it, I knew it was something I could do. But I ultimately decided to go to Wasatch so I could just focus on basketball and get rid of every other distraction.
PI: How has your game improved since joining them?
CB: I think my game has improved definitely by just playing a different position that I’m not used to. I’ve just been adapting to what the team needs me to do...just doing things for the benefit of this team. That’s been a big thing. At Wasatch, it’s about team success vs. individual.
PI: What were the most important factors in your college decision?
CB: Really, my parents. My family. Then with each school, I asked myself, “could I see myself here? Would I enjoy being here? Is it the best place for me?” That’s what it ultimately came down to. I’ve never cared about where colleges are or location, anything like that. It was more about, “is this okay for my family? Is this a good choice for me?” And after that, I thought “if I love it here and the coaching staff loves me, too, I’ll pull the trigger.”
PI: Who did you turn to for guidance throughout the process?
CB: Really just my dad, the people in my circle and my close friends.
PI: What advice did they share with you?
CB: They told me to do what felt right and to do what’s best for me — not to do it because other people are telling me to do it, or whatever. It’s never been that. My people want me to be who I am and they always support me 100-percent.
PI: Without further adieu, where will you be attending college?
CB: I will be attending Syracuse University.
PI: Congratulations! What set Syracuse apart? What made them different from the rest of your options?
CB: I love Coach Boeheim and all of the assistants. They’re just a great coaching staff and great people over there. Really, it came down to it being the place I liked the most...and I loved Syracuse while I was out there, so my family and my circle were totally supportive of me. I really loved my second visit, especially...that really set it off for me. And to have my family members on board with it was huge for me. What set them apart was the family atmosphere they have there. I loved it over there, my parents loved it, my trainers loved it, and my circle loved it, so it really just came down to “is this where I want to be?” And after my visits it was 100-percent a “go.”
PI: What was their most consistent message to you throughout the recruiting process? What did they try to convey?
CB: Syracuse always kept it a buck with me. They always wanted me to come play for them and be a scorer and that’s what I do.
PI: What was Coach Boeheim’s reaction when you told him?
CB: I didn’t get to tell him in person, I told him on the phone, but he seemed excited. I called him right away and I’m sure he was excited.
PI: Did you get to know any of the current or former Syracuse players during the recruiting process?
CB: I know a few of the players. I know Cole Swider, Jimmy [Boeheim], Buddy [Boeheim] and Joe Girard. Those are the main guys I’ve gotten to know.
PI: Have any of those guys shared anything helpful to you throughout the process? CB: I had a really good talk with Buddy, Jimmy and Cole and we sat down and talked about Syracuse and what they’re all about...that discussion really put me over the edge in terms of making my decision to pick Syracuse.
PI: You’re close with Kevin Durant — what type of mentor has he been to you throughout your early career?
CB: Other than my dad, that’s my role model. That’s the person I model my game after, like, that’s my uncle. That’s who I look up to. Every single day I’m just striving to get where he is. If I can be half as good as he is, I’d be okay with that.
PI: What do you hope to bring to Syracuse?
CB: Really what I’m hoping to bring is a great attitude and being a great person. I want to come in and be impactful, you know, make an impact...and just do me. Whether it’s coming off the bench or starting, I’m going to try and be the best me for Syracuse.
PI: What will be your focus between now and when you get to campus?
CB: Definitely getting my body right, working on my handle — just really getting bigger and stronger. That’s really it.
PI: Lastly, do you have any message for the ‘Cuse fans who are thrilled about your commitment?
CB: I just want the Syracuse fans to know that I’ll be coming in and there will be a lot of threes going in.