Athlete of the week: Caleb Lunning, Zimmerman, basketball: Taking charge

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Point guard is typically a position basketball coaches fret about most. But not at Zimmerman recently with versatile Caleb Lunning running things.

“Caleb is the prototypical point guard. He is very steady.  You always know what you’ll get,” said coach Ben Kvidt.  “He does everything you want – pass, drive, shoot, defense. It’s been a real treat having him, never worrying about the point guard position.”

Caleb Lunning is an all-around contributor in basketball as a point guard and football as a runner, receiver and defensive back. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

Lunning, 6-0 and 16 pounds, is averaging 11.7 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals on a 10-3 team with four double-digit scorers, shooting .526 on field goals and .875 on free throws (21-for-24).  On last year’s state tournament team that had two high-scoring senior guards, Lunning averaged  7.1 points and 4.4 assists. In 10th grade he contributed 3.2 ppg off the bench.

Asked what the team needs from him, Lunning said: “To lead. The point guard is like the quarterback.” About tactics: “When it’s a zone, you see what type and call for certain sets. When it’s man-to-man, you’ve got a bunch of plays you can run, based on mismatches or who’s  hot.”

Lunning is a strong 50-percent shooter in his career, along with 32 percent on three’s and 72 at the line.

“His mid-range jumper is around 60 percent now,” said Kvidt.  “He really improved on that. In the past we didnt need him to score much. This year he has to take more of that role.”

Lunning, whose summer team is the Minnesota Comets, acknowledged: “I always work hard in the offseason, and try improve what I need to improve.”

In a 13-letter career – he’ll have six in track, four football and three basketball – he’s been involved in ZHS’s first state tournament team (basketball), first conference football title (this fall) and first  sub-section track title.

This year Lunning rushed for 356 yards (5.7 per carry) and six touchdowns while catching 17 passes for 330 yards  and five TD’s. At safety, he logged six interceptions and 54 tackles. He led the 9-2 team with 12 TDs. Career totals are 40 catches for 687 yards and six TDs, 12 interceptions and 154 tackles. Top grid thrills were “the Cathedral game, where we won the conference, and playing in the section finals, which Zimmerman had never done.”

In track he’s been steady scorer in long jump (PB of 20-1/2) and high jump (P.B. of 5-10) and relays.

Caleb and his twin, Ethan, are teammates all three sports (along with soph Noah). Most of the passes he caught came from Ethan. They will coninue sports at St. Olaf, with Caleb in basketball and Ethan in football.


Caleb Lunning

Personal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents Michael and Heather; brothers Ethan, 18, and Noah, 15 … Sports: football, basketball, track … Other activities: National Honor Society … Academics: 3.97 GPA … College plans: St. Olaf, basketball, Biology

Favorite stuff – Class: math …. TV show: “Tosh.0” … Movie: “Never Back Down” … Food: Chipotle burrito’s … Drink: Arizona’s (ice tea) … Reading: “Facebook” and “Twitter” … Team: Miami Heat … Athletes: LeBron James, Derek Rose … Kickback: hunting, fishing, wakeboarding … Place he’d like to visit: Australia