In what I considered to be a bit of unexpected news from this afternoon, Purdue senior point guard Eric Hunter Jr. has entered the transfer portal according to well, every basketball reporter on Twitter. Apologies that I don’t know who had it first.
Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. has gone portaling, the portal told me.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 21, 2022
Averaged 6.2 points this past season and shot 44 percent from 3.
This news comes on the heels of the announcement roughly two weeks ago that Hunter Jr. was entering the NBA draft but retaining his additional year of eligibility with the possibility of returning to college.
Interesting that Hunter Jr. announced this on his own account but as of this writing there has been no tweet about his decision to enter the transfer portal. Like a lot of you I assumed that when he said he was entering his name into the draft but retaining his eligibility it was because he was debating coming back to Purdue to use his Covid year. While I suppose that is still possible it looks unlikely.
While yes it’s true that Kofi Cockburn did this same thing last year, declared for the Draft, entered the portal, but then returned to Illinois that’s the exception rather than the rule. So Hunter Jr. now hits the open market.
Hunter Jr. of course truly turned his season around midway through the year. He became an integral part of the team once Thompson began to struggle. Hunter averaged 25.8 minutes this season, down from 30.6 a year ago, to go along with 6.2 ppg, down from 8.5, and 2.0 assists, down from 2.8. While I don’t think anyone would argue it was his best year at Purdue he truly turned into a difference maker down the stretch for Purdue after a rough start to the season.
Hunter Jr. will now have the opportunity to spend one more year playing college basketball elsewhere. He will walk away with a Purdue degree and a memorable four year career in the Big Ten. I can’t begrudge him for taking advantage of every opportunity out there for him and I wish him nothing but the best.
Questions remain about next year’s team given this news. With both Hunter Jr. and Thompson now transferring it leaves a glaring hole at the point guard spot. Purdue is of course waiting for news on Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack who has visited Purdue, Miami (FL), and Ohio State. A decision could be coming by the end of the month. The prevailing hope online is that Hunter Jr. making this announcement means that news about Pack could be coming shortly. I don’t know if that’s the case but it does make some semblance of sense. However, in this new world of the transfer portal it’s hard to say what is real and what makes sense. Purdue of course has signed a point guard in the 2022 class in Braden Smith but I’m not sure how much you truly want to rely on a freshman point guard to be not only your starter but realistically the only point guard on the roster. Let’s hoping that good news comes in the way of Pack here shortly.
In the mean time let’s all give thanks to Eric Hunter Jr. for being a great representative for Purdue. Congratulations on your Purdue degree and if you chooses to go elsewhere I wish him success (except if he should play against Purdue).