The times when Michael Dunigan lives up to his 6-foot-10-inch frame can be downright intimidating.
They are happening with more frequency than ever during his farewell tour at Farragut.
The presumptive front-runner for the Mr. Basketball of Illinois award had 26 points, 22 rebounds and 9 blocked shots in a victory over Manley.
In a loss to No. 1 Simeon, Dunigan came away with 17 points, 17 rebounds and 8 blocks. No. 7 Farragut beat Manley a second time behind Dunigan's 15 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks.
There is an unwritten creed in the Public League that you never back down from the big man.
"They just keep coming at me," said Dunigan, who has signed with Oregon. "Why, I have no idea. They should realize it's not working."
Before the coordination caught up with the growth spurts, Dunigan had problems on the court.
"I was all over the place, and I started thinking it was too hard," he said of his grammar-school days. "I didn't want to do it, but my mom (Pearl Dunigan) told me never to quit. That's a big no-no."
Ex-Golden State Warrior and Public Leaguer Sonny Parker began working with Dunigan as a 7th grader. Dunigan enrolled at Farragut as a 6-7 project, grew an inch each year and now is rated No. 25 in the nation's senior class by recruiting analyst Van Coleman.
Dunigan, who is averaging 19 points, 15 rebounds and 8.5 blocks a game this season, likely is the only basketball player in the state who has to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) to remain eligible.
That's the wisdom of Pearl.
"At first, my mom gave me a 3.0 rule about playing," said Dunigan, who carries a 3.9 GPA. "Then, she raised it to 3.5. I have no problem with it. I know she is using it to make me the best that I can be."
Craving an iPod during his sophomore year, Dunigan made a deal with his mom—straight A's and she would treat. When he came home with one B at midsemester, mom held firm.
She received a phone call from Farragut coach William Nelson after the final grades were released.
"How deep are your pockets?" Nelson asked with a laugh. Her only son had earned his iPod.
This is a student-athlete who took karate in his childhood and became an accomplished swimmer. He plans to major in business administration at Oregon and minor in Chinese.
So, he speaks a foreign language?
"Not a word," Dunigan said. "But I will learn it.
"I'd like to play in the NBA someday. If not, I could play ball in China and take advantage of all the business opportunities over there. It seems like all the trade is going to China.
"I got the idea after talking to my mom's boss, Dean Andrews. He and his children are learning Russian. That's a lot harder than Chinese."