Published February 21. 2014 4:00AM
New London — Perhaps for the first time during his distinguished basketball career, Kris Dunn looked a bit overwhelmed standing on the Conway Gymnasium court.
Dunn listened as Craig Parker, his New London High School coach, reeled off the former Whaler standout's impressive resume during a ceremony before Thursday's game against Hamden.
He added to his long list of accomplishments on Thursday by becoming the first Whaler to have his number retired. He received two framed No. 3 jerseys — one to take home and the other to be displayed at the high school - and then posed for pictures with his family, including father John Seldon, stepmother Audra and four siblings. He picked the gold jersey one to keep.
"A lot of great players come out of here," Dunn said. "For me to be chosen is definitely an honor.
"... It's crazy that no one else will be able to wear number three. It's a special moment but hopefully the next best thing that comes to New London, hopefully he can get his number retired and just beat all my records."
It will likely be awhile before that happens.
Dunn graduated in 2012 as the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,201 points. He became just the fourth McDonald's All-American from Connecticut and earned a scholarship to Providence College. He's sitting out his sophomore season while recovering from a second shoulder surgery in December.
During his remarks, Parker talked about Dunn's "rock star status" in the community.
"I think Kris was actually moved by the ceremony," Parker said. "He was a deserving recipient to have his number retired. It was a real positive ceremony.
"We had some great moments together. You bring back one of the all-time greats, if not the all-time great, it's a very moving thing for us."
Dunn has remained humble during his rise. He gladly signed autographs, warmly greeted friends and smiled for cell phone pictures.
It was his way of saying thanks to his extended Whaler family.
"The community also showed their love no matter what," Dunn said.
"This is where everything started. I appreciated everyone that came out and supported me and my family."
Tom Poblete, a former New London basketball player now teaching at the high school, had Dunn in two classes.
"Kris epitomizes what we want student-athletes at New London High School to be — a student first who did well in school and a great athlete that respects the game and is a great kid off the court," Poblete said.
Dunn stayed for part of New London's basketball game before departing. He's unsure where he will hang his framed jersey.
His decision to wear No. 3 can be traced back to his days playing New London recreation basketball at the age of 11. He wanted No. 7 but his coach, Noah James, made a different choice for him.
But something happened to convince Dunn to keep his new number.
"I was practicing with it and everything just happened to fall into place," Dunn said. "I was making shots. I was thinking if I took this off, I wouldn't be able to make any more shots so I just stuck with number three."
Dunn continues to wear that number at Providence.