Virginia Cavaliers fans got some very welcome news on Friday afternoon as flashy swingman De’Andre Hunter announced that he will return for his redshirt sophomore season.
After much consideration, I have decided to return to school and not enter my name in the 2018 draft.— Dre (@Dr_Dre14) April 20, 2018
Hunter was a critical part of the Hoos’ run to a school-record 31 wins and the second sweep of the ACC regular season and tournament in program history. The reigning sixth man of the year in the conference suffered a broken wrist in the ACC semifinal against Clemson and was ruled out for the season the following week. The injury helped to derail what looked to be a Final Four-or-better caliber season for UVA, as they were shockingly eliminated in the first round of the dance by 16th-seeded UMBC.
Most way-too-early Top 25 rankings have had UVA in the top 10 even with the early loss and graduation of key contributors Devon Hall and Isaiah Wilkins. That can be owed in large part to Hunter’s do-it-all athleticism and ability to hit from everywhere on the floor in addition to his stellar individual defensive prowess. Some mock drafts had Hunter going as early as the first round, but he will not test the waters after all, perhaps due to his somewhat lengthy recovery from surgery.
Hunter figures to start next year in a lineup that will also feature Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and Jack Salt with another piece likely yet to be determined. It would now seem that the Cavaliers can have another legitimate kick at the proverbial can as they try to reach their first Final Four since 1984.