Kunke Nears Willamette Career Assists Record

Enters Weekend with 489; School Record is 502

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- For four consecutive years, Robbie Kunke (Sr., G, Clackamas, OR/Clackamas HS) has been the assist leader for the Willamette University men's basketball team. Now, with 90 games and 82 starts under his belt, Kunke is just 13 assists away from the Willamette record.

Kunke has accumulated 489 assists for the Bearcats. The WU career record is 502 assists, set  by Rob Cantonwine from 1979-82.

This season, Kunke is averaging 5.7 assists per game to rank 20th in NCAA Division III and first in the Northwest Conference. He topped the NWC with 6.6 assists per game in 2009-10.

He will compete for the Bearcats at Linfield College on Friday, Feb. 4 and at home against Pacific University on Friday, Feb. 5. Both games are slated to start at 8 p.m. (PST). Including this weekend's games, Willamette has six contests remaining on its 2010-11 schedule.

"Robbie, like all great passers, is able to see plays, cuts, et cetera, before they happen," WU men's basketball Head Coach Kip Ioane said. "That perception has allowed him to be the distributor he is."

Kunke has earned more than 100 assists in each of his four seasons at WU. As a freshman in 2007-08, he played in all 26 games and provided 139 assists. In 2008-09, he achieved 103 assists and saw action in all 23 games. In 2009-10, he accumulated 138 assists while playing in 22 of 25 games. This year, his assist total is 109 and he has competed in all 19 games.

During his career, Kunke has scored 567 points for an average of 6.3 points per game. This year, he is contributing 7.5 points per contest, with a career-high of 20 points versus George Fox University on Jan. 25.

In addition, Kunke is one of the top rebounding guards in the NWC and leads the Bearcats in steals. He is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game (95 total) -- including a career-high 12 boards against the University of Puget Sound on Jan. 29, and has earned 35 steals (1.8 avg.). His career totals are 312 rebounds and 113 steals.

"Kunke's ability has really allowed me to be as creative as I want to with our offense ... much of what we do is based solely on his ability to pass," Ioane said. "We lead the NWC in assists per game (13.1) almost entirely because we have Robbie."

As his senior season winds down, Kunke hopes to continue having success leading the WU offense. His skills as a passer indicate that the chances are good he'll reach or surpass the WU assists record. His chances are bolstered by Willamette's high-scoring offense, which is currently ranked 32nd (out of 403 teams) in scoring in NCAA Division III with 80.5 points per game.

Robbie Kunke has recorded 489 assists so far in his Willamette basketball career.

Robbie Kunke has recorded 489 assists so far in his Willamette basketball career.