Dunston Jr. Chooses Vanderbilt

Jeff Dahn

Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If Shawon Dunston Jr. proves to be as patient at the plate as he was when it came to making his college commitment, he may enjoy a long professional career someday.

Dunston told Perfect Game on Tuesday, Nov. 16, that he had committed to Vanderbilt University after waiting days to hear from the school’s admissions office. He had narrowed his final two choices to Vanderbilt and Oregon State.

“I have committed to Vanderbilt!” Dunston said in a one line email message to Perfect Game Tuesday afternoon.

Dunston, a 6-2, 165-pound senior outfielder at Valley Christian High School in Fremont, Calif., is Perfect Game’s No. 48 national prospect in the class of 2011 and No. 11 in the state of California.

He played his summer ball with the prestigious NorCal Baseball program, attended Perfect Game’s National Showcase in St. Petersburg, Fla., last June and took part in the Aflac All-American Classic in San Diego in August.

Dunston also considered USC, Georgia Tech and Miami before narrowing it to Vanderbilt and Oregon State.

“It’s a very exciting time,” Dunston said before announcing his decision. “Vanderbilt and Oregon State were in my top-five when I first started and towards the end they became my one and two.

 “It’s been enjoyable, but it’s also been a hassle,” he said of the recruiting process. “It’s been a hassle because every day I’m changing my mind on what school I want to go to. I’ve just been waiting patiently to find out if I can get into Vanderbilt or not.”

In choosing Vanderbilt, Dunston will be attending a university with an outstanding academic reputation that is affiliated athletically with the powerhouse Southeastern Conference.

Head baseball coach Tim Corbin has been in charge for the past seven years and has led the Commodores to four straight NCAA regional tournament appearances while competing against many of the nation’s top programs.

“I’m a California kid, but I liked the atmosphere in Nashville, Tennessee. I felt like I was at home,” Dunston said. “Coach (Tim) Corbin is a players’ coach, it seems like, and he’s loyal to his players. And I want to play in the SEC. The players here at home where I live at want to go to the Pac-10, but I want to go to the SEC and do something different.

 “It’s the academic side of it, as well,” he added. “I’ll get great academics and great sports at Vanderbilt.”

Dunston, who has a 3.3 GPA, said he hopes to study sports management or sports business while in school.

Dunston is the son of Shawon Sr. and Tracie Dunston. Shawon Dunston Sr. was the first overall pick in the first round of the 1982 Major League Draft by the Chicago Cubs and enjoyed an 18-year career with the Cubs, Giants, Indians, Cardinals and Mets. A two-time All-Star, Dunston is now a special assistant for the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

“My dad influenced me a lot. He’s the one that taught me everything I know about baseball and he’s the one who motivates me in the game of baseball,” Dunston Jr. said. “He’s my biggest fan and also my biggest critic. He’s hard on me and wants me to be successful.”

He identified himself as a “big” Giants fan who heartily celebrated the Giants’ World Series Championship like just about everyone else on the west side of San Francisco Bay.

 “Now that the Giants won the World Series, it was a great experience because I’m a Bay Area kid and I grew up watching the Giants and A’s play,” Dunston said.

Dunston also celebrated his association with Perfect Game during his high school years. He is genuinely appreciative of the exposure the PG events game him.

“The Perfect Game events down in Florida - the Perfect Game National Showcase – is probably the best thing that happened to me in the summertime,” Dunston said. “That’s the best thing I did, baseball-wise, was to go to Florida for three days.

“I did good and I became an Aflac All-American, so that was the best thing that happened to me. I definitely would (advise) people to go to Perfect Game and get your name out there and get seen by schools from all across the country.”

A PG scout at the National Showcase described Dunston as “very aggressive to the ball in the outfield (with) very good footwork, loose arm with some carry,” and as a hitter with a “good quick swing.”

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