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2 Days to Purdue Basketball: Eric Hunter Jr.

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The sophomore started to come on late last year, and can make a major step forward this season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Villanova vs Purdue Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s player had an up and down first season at Purdue, but played well when called on in a pinch.

Eric Hunter Jr. - So.

Indianapolis, IN (Tindley HS)

6’4”, 175 pounds

Guard

2019-20 Projection: Contributor at guard

We thought it had happened again. In 2018 it was Isaac Haas getting hurt in meaningless minutes against Cal State Fullerton. Then last year Nojel Eastern tweaks his ankle in pregame warmups against Old Dominion in Purdue’s first round NCAA Tournament. As fans, we were cursing the gods because of course would lose a critical player at the worst time yet again.

Hunter was suddenly pushed into a starter’s role and played well. he had just two points in 24 minutes, but played strong defensively, grabbed four rebounds, and handed out three assists. Eastern would be fine and return as well, but it was a big moment for a freshman that was up and down all year.

All told, Hunter appeared in all 36 games last season, but he played just 12.6 minutes over game and averaged 2.2 points. He played smart, however, with a 1.4 to 0.6 assist-to-turnover ratio as one of Purdue’s primary ball handlers. He had two games in double figures when he scored 13 against Ohio and 10 against Fairfield.

Hunter was known to fill it up in high school, however. He led Tindley to the 2017 Class A state championship and finished his career with 2,583 career points. That’s good for 7th on the all-time state scoring list and only 8 points behind some guy named Rick Mount. Had he not been eliminated early in the tournament as a senior he probably would have passed Mount and Brody Boyd for fifth.

Hunter will split time this season at both guard spots, but if his shooting comes along he can be very dangerous at the point. He was only 21.7% from three last season (10 of 46) but had a big first half triple against Virginia in the tournament. Look for that percentage to improve dramatically.