By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
FOR much of the summer, it was a relatively slow recruitment process for Sammy Hunter, but the Canadian-based prep basketball star has picked up five NCAA Division I offers in just under two weeks.
The latest programmes to offer scholarships yesterday were the Kansas State Wildcats and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
The Wildcats finished 25-12 and reached the Elite Eight of the 2017 NCAA Tournament before they were eliminated with a 78-62 loss to Loyola. They return all five starters from last season and also return 88 per cent of the minutes played from a year ago and 93 per cent of its points.
The Hilltoppers had a successful run to the NIT last season with a Bahamian connection as Dwight Coleby was a key member of its roster.
WKU finished last season 27-11 and they achieved the programme’s most wins in a decade. Their 38 games played tied the programme record and their three postseason victories also tied a school record as they advanced to the NIT semis for the first time since 1954.
In the postseason the Hilltoppers ended in the NIT semi-finals in a 69-64 loss to the Utah Utes.
Hunter received his first high major offer when he was offered by the Arkansas Razorbacks on August 21.
The Razorbacks finished 23-12 in the SEC last season and were eliminated in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed to the No. 10 seeded Butler Bulldogs 79-62. It was their third NCAA Tournament trip in the last four seasons.
Since then, the 6’9” forward in the class of 2019 also received offers from both the Ole Miss Rebels and Grand Canyon Antelopes. The Rebels currently have Bahamian ties with Franco Miller Jr on their men’s roster, while Yolett McPhee-McCuin is the head coach of the Rebels women’s programme.
Hunter previously fielded Division I offers from the Santa Clara, San Francisco, Chicago State, Colorado State, Fresno State and Pacific.
His summer recruitment continued to accelerate following his performances against elite Division I competition at the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s Summer of Thunder.
Hunter also garnered an offer from the Antelopes after he posted 16 points and seven rebounds against the team at the Summer of Thunder. He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds against Notre Dame and followed with 18 points and five rebounds against North Carolina.
He recently made his senior men’s national team debut in July at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Hunter was also a member of the 2016 CBC U16 Championship team when he averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and the 2017 Centrobasket U17 Championship team when he averaged 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
A former student at St.John’s College, Hunter is currently enrolled at British Columbia Christian Prep in Canada. He was also a participant at the Basketball Without Borders Americas Camp hosted in the Bahamas in 2017.
“I gained valuable experience playing on the national team the last few years. The exposure playing against the top players from other countries has also helped my game, which has grown a lot skill wise since I moved to Canada,” Hunter said, “The Summer of Thunder is great for the local players as well because we get to go up against some of the best teams in the NCAA and we get to measure our skills against them to see where we’re at.”