Over the next two weeks we will be previewing the NC State Basketball team prior to their first exhibition game on Nov 4th. Today, we take a closer look at grad-transfer, Sam Hunt.
How did he get here?
This has been a pretty crazy off-season, so if you’ve kind of lost track of the NC State basketball roster, you’re not alone.
After Kevin Keatts was named head coach the dominos began to fall. Obviously, Dennis Smith Jr opted for the NBA Draft, but with him went Maverick Rowan and Ted Kapita. Also gone were Beejay Anya (graduated) and Terry Henderson (was not granted injury waiver, and graduated).
Suddenly, Keatts was left with a depleted roster, especially at the guard spot. The only remaining player who played any sort of significant minutes was Markell Johnson. That meant Keatts needed to pick up a few guys and fast.
One of those pickups was from right down the highway. Sam Hunt had just finished his junior season, but he also had finished his coursework and North Carolina A&T and graduated. This allowed him to become a grad-transfer and not have to sit out a season.
Meanwhile, Keatts quickly looked around the nation at coaching changes to see if he had relationships with any players who were now looking for a different situation. One of those kids was Lavar Batts, who had recently de-committed from VCU and knew Keatts well. After picking up Batts, the dots began to connect for Hunt. He was close with Batts and he had always wanted to play in the ACC.
“That’s (Lavar Batts) my little brother,” said Hunt. “He’s a great kid, and he’s so competitive. That’s what I really love about him, he competes. And he listens. A lot of kids don’t want to listen.” he told the N&O back in May.
That connection and the opportunity to play right down the road, but for an ACC team was exactly what he was looking for. Hunt decided on NC State shortly after Batts did.
What kind of player is he?
Hunt is a 6’2, 175lb guard. He’ll likely slot in as a 2 guard on this roster since Batts and Johnson will be more than enough to go around at the point.
Hunt averaged 15 points his sophomore year and 12 his junior year at NC A&T. He is a crafty guard who a nice lefty jump shot. He likes to shoot off the dribble and did a lot of isolation scoring at A&T. He has a quick release and a solid handle.
How will he fit at NC State?
It’s yet to be seen how Keatts will use his players, but in the past (at UNCW) he has been guard heavy. This year he will be counting on major minutes from Abu and Yurtseven, so you likely will see a 3 guard, 2 big lineup.
In that lineup, you will certainly see Markell Johnson, Torin Dorn and Al Freeman heading things up. You will also get Lavar Batts in there to spell Johnson and maybe even Dorn or Freeman if he wants more ball handling.
With the news that Braxton Beverly has been ruled ineligible, it might open up some extra minutes for Hunt. He showed that he can really get hot on the teams trip to Italy where he dropped 21 points in a loss. However, NC State has filed for a Braxton Beverly appeal, so if he were to get reinstated it might eat into Hunts ability to find minutes.
At the end of the day, the truth is that Hunt will have to earn his minutes, but NC State is at a spot where if you can score, you will play. With Henderson and Smith Jr. gone, NC State really needs guys who can fill it up and Hunt is looking to show that he’s that guy.
Hunt will wear #15 for NC State this season.
Check out these highlights of Sam Hunt while at NC A&T’s summer league.