Sports

Guard Hunter announces transfer to UNLV

By the

August 23, 2001


There are few people in the Georgetown sports community who can make an entire crowd rise in anticipation of what is to come next. Now there is one fewer.

Explosive junior guard Demetrius Hunter transferred to UNLV on Tuesday in order to be closer to his one-year-old daughter in Las Vegas. Hunter, who averaged 9.2 points in 26 minutes per game last season, was the most explosive player on the Hoyas squad. Every time he was at the head of a fast break, Georgetown fans rose in unison to prepare for one of his spectacular dunks.

“We wish Demetrius all the best,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said in an Athletic Department press release. “He’s leaving in good academic standing and although we’ll have to adjust the plans for the team involving him, we understand and support family responsibilities being taken seriously.”

Hunter was rumored to have been transferring to one of five schools: Brigham Young University (BYU), Oregon, Oklahoma, San Diego State or Wyoming. BYU had been considered the front-runner because it had scholarships remaining and retained John Wardenburg, Hunter’s AAU coach, on their coaching staff.

“I looked at the situation beyond basketball and when I finish playing, this is where I want to live,” Hunter said. “I have made a number of connections here, and now I’ll get a chance to play in front of my family.”

Hunter will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA rules but plans to have surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot and spend the time recovering. Since UNLV has no scholarships remaining for 2001-2, he will be paying for the school on his own, although in-state tuition will ease the burden. He is expected to be given a scholarship for 2002-3, when he returns to action. His backcourt mate in 2002-3 will be Marcus Banks, once his primary high school rival in Las Vegas. Banks also transferred to UNLV after attending Dixie College in Utah for two seasons.

“This is something I had been thinking about for a while,” Hunter said. “I’ve been on the other side of the country and only got to go home once.”

What does it all mean?

Hunter ranked third on the Hoyas in scoring and second in assists during their magical Sweet 16 run last season, including scoring a game-high 21 points in the February 24, 2001 upset over Syracuse. He started every single game during his sophomore season, regularly drawing the assignment to defend the opposition’s best player.

In all likelihood, either Tony Bethel or Drew Hall, both first-years, will step into Hunter’s spot in the starting line-up. Otherwise, Esherick may move Kevin Braswell to the point guard slot, Gerard Riley at the off-guard, Victor Samnick or first-year Harvey Thomas at the small forward position, sophomore standout Mike Sweetney at power forward, and Wesley Wilson at center. This leaves Courtland Freeman as the top forward off the bench.

If Thomas ends up starting at the small forward position, then two key positions on the Hoyas’ starting line-up could be filled by first-years. This could be damaging to their Big East title hopes. In addition, Hunter was the defensive maverick of the Sweet 16 edition of the Hoyas. With the high level of guard play in the Big East, Braswell will draw tougher defensive assignments this season. This makes his workload at each end of the floor very heavy, so either Bethel or Hall will have to provide quality minutes off the bench.



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