First of all, the news:
Kunkel will be using the extra year afforded him due to Covid, having appeared in 50 games for Xavier over the past two seasons. Kunkel’s role was mostly as a scorer off the bench and that was one at which he excelled at times, posting 22 points in his Big East debut against Marquette and 25 in a win at Butler. Much of the burden to provide Xavier with a three point threat fell on him when Nate Johnson struggled with injuries in each of the last two Februaries, although his flair for deceptive and acrobatic two point finishes has landed him on his share of highlight videos. After only logging 30 minutes once under Travis Steele, and that coming in a double OT loss at Providence, Kunkel was a lynchpin under Jonas Hayes, starting all 4 games and averaging 32.3 minutes per contest on his way to 10.3 points per game.
In the grand scheme of things, Kunkel joins Colby Jones, Kyky Tandy, and Jack Nunge in signaling his intention to return, meaning that Xavier now has 6 players confirmed for their roster next season when factoring in the arrivals of Kam Craft and Desmond Claude. In Kunkel and a hopefully healthy and firing Tandy, Sean Miller already has a pair of guards who excel in knocking down outside jumpers and are comfortable creating for themselves off the dribble. There has been good news in abundance on Victory Parkway the last couple of weeks, and with 5 players still yet to make their intentions clear and the transfer portal chuck full of talent, there is reason to hope that there will be more to come.