Former prep star Dunigan to play in Italy

Michael Dunigan signed a contract with Fasttweb Casale in Italy on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-10 center Dunigan, a former McDonald’s All-American from Chicago's Farragut High and University of Oregon player, was not selected in this year’s NBA draft. He played last year in Estonia and Israel. He averaged 11.1 points, eight rebounds and 1.4 blocks in Estonia.

He is officially being loaned to Fasttweb Casale, which has moved up to Italy’s top division, from Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. He has a NBA buyout and will play the entire upcoming season in Italy.

“Still our main goal is to groom him for the NBA,” Dunigan’s agent Mike Naiditch said. “We thought this team gave us a combination of three things -- financially, it was attractive, the opportunity to get playing time in a high level league and also having a coach that understands how to develop and has a track record of developing young players for the NBA and higher levels.”

Naiditch was still confident Dunigan could play in the NBA, but he thought the upcoming season in Italy would be vital for him.

“If Mike can remain professional, which he has done, and he understands this is a really, really high level of basketball, and the people paying his salary expect him to play at a high level,” Naiditch said. “The challenge is if he can have the same success as he did in Estonia, and he can keep that same focus.”