Virginia Basketball Media Day: Redshirt Freshman De’Andre Hunter

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De’Andre Hunter missed his entire high school sophomore season because of a broken leg. Barring another injury, the heralded recruit out of Philadelphia (PA) expected to play last season as a true freshman for the University of Virginia.

Coach Tony Bennett decided on another course of action for the promising Hunter. Following a preseason practice, Bennett, his assistants, and Hunter met, and during the meeting the prospect of redshirting was discussed. The coaches felt a redshirt would benefit both Hunter and the team looking ahead to the 2017/2018 campaign.

Hunter, a 6’7”, 222-pound wing, wanted to play but accepted the redshirt decision. The second year addressed the past year and more in an interview during Virginia basketball’s media day on October 16.

His reaction to being asked to redshirt last season …

“I was really surprised,” Hunter admitted. “Kinda hurt, but I just made the most out of the year. The next season’s here already, so I’m just ready to impact the team and help the team win.”

Who he leaned on to help him through the year …

“Definitely Devon (Hall), and I’d say Ty (Jerome),” Hunter said. “In the beginning of the year, Ty wasn’t playing as much so me and him just had a lot of conversations about our future and basically what we needed to do to get better. Those two definitely helped me get through my redshirt year, I would say.”

His focus basketball-wise during the redshirt year …

“I just really got to work on my game. Everything – dribbling, shooting. Got to lift a lot more than the other guys, so I got a lot stronger,” said Hunter, who estimates he gained 15 to 20 pounds from last year.

“Basically, I just learned the ins and outs of the defense and the offense,” Hunter added.

How he has improved in the past year …

“The redshirt year really helped me, just learning from older guys like Devon and Marial – when he was here last year,” Hunter said. “They taught me how to play the system and how to basically do things I didn’t know when I first got here.”

His individual growth and the team’s growth from last year …

“For myself, I’m getting a lot more shots. I’ve gotten a lot more confident in myself,” Hunter said. “For the team, we really play together. No one is trying to get more shots than the other person. Everyone is just trying to look out for their teammates. I really like it.”

His shooting …

“It’s improved a lot,” Hunter said. “I got a lot of shot reps. Me and Jay Huff worked out almost every day after practice, so my shot has gotten a lot better.”

What his natural position is …

“I feel like I’m more of a wing, but I can play post if I have a smaller guy on me,” Hunter said. “It really doesn’t matter where they put me. I just want to help the team win.”

Given his size and athleticism, if playing and/or defending the 4 position is a possibility this season …

“We actually went over that in practice … a couple days ago I was playing the 4,” Hunter said. “I liked it. It didn’t really bother me, playing the 4 and guarding the 4. Three, 4, it doesn’t really matter who I guard as long as I’m on the court and playing.”

Scoring in the post versus scoring from the perimeter …

“Comfortable both ways,” Hunter said. “I really worked a lot when I was younger on my post moves. As I got taller I started to work my way out to the wing. I can score both ways.”

Hunter worked out with former UNC and NBA star post Rasheed Wallace in the offseason. Did he develop Wallace’s patented post fadeaway shot? …

“He was trying to teach me,” Hunter said with a laugh. “I don’t know if I got it down yet, but he was trying to teach me.”

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