It should not come as a surprise to Virginia fans that De’Andre Hunter is going to be widely coveted next summer by NBA teams. The soon-to-be redshirt second year had an impressive freshman campaign that saw him earn ACC Sixth Man of the Year and a spot on the conference All-Freshman team. For a short stint after Virginia’s season ended abruptly, there was talk of Hunter, who is recovering from a wrist injury that kept him from the NCAA tournament, potentially testing the waters in the draft.
Luckily for Coach Bennett and the Hoos, there’s at least one more year of Hunter in Charlottesville.
“After much consideration, I have decided to return to school and not enter my name in the 2018 draft.” Hunter tweeted on April 20th.
Don’t expect to get that lucky next year, however. As he was already projected to be a first round pick this season, Hunter is unsurprisingly highly rated for next season. Sports Illustrated has him at the No. 10 overall spot in their 2019 NBA Draft Big Board, saying:
Hunter is another player who would likely have been a first-round pick in the 2018 draft, but opted to return to school. Defensive versatility is the hallmark of his game, as he’s capable of guarding 1–4 and has outstanding hands and instincts. Hunter also looks comfortable handling the ball and has shown some ability to create his own shot within a limited role in Virginia’s more rigid offensive system. How the Cavaliers decide to optimize his skills next season could have a direct impact on his draft slot. Here’s hoping they decide to turn him loose.
Hunter, 6-7 and 222 pounds, can do just about everything for Virginia on both sides of the ball. While his absence certainly did not cause the loss to UMBC, his abilities were absolutely missed. He finished his first season with 9.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and shot 49% from the field and 38% from three. Hunter can create for himself off the dribble, pull up for long jumpers, finish with athleticism, and connect from three. Defensively, he can guard any position. Teams like Duke, Syracuse, Miami, and Louisville had no answer for him.
Basically, it’s not surprising that Hunter is highly regarded and his stock should only improve.
And since it’s an article about Hunter, we are legally required to share this with you: