Mike Pegram, Peegs.com

Big junior season has Eric Hunter on Indiana radar

An outstanding junior season for Eric Hunter that included an Indiana state championship has him squarely on the radar for new Indiana coach Archie Miller and a host of high major programs.

It was a dream junior season for 6-foot-3 combo guard Eric Hunter this year at Indianapolis Tindley. Averaging 25 points, seven boards and four assists per game, Hunter took the small school to the Class 1A title last month at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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Sunday at the IndyBall tourney at North Central High School, he was back at it, returning to play with his Team Harris club team.

He first spoke about earning that state title.

"It means a lot because we came up short the last two years, lost in the regionals both years," Hunter said. "To get through the Martinsville regional, it just meant everything to me.  I felt like that was the state championship."

And averaging more than 25 a game?

"I scored more. I was a lot more aggressive than I have been the past two years.  My leadership role -- I think that played a big part," Hunter said.

We caught Hunter twice on Sunday. First it was in a tough semifinal match-up against a Team Blaze Select team that included four-star junior Musa Jallow of Bloomington North. Hunter had 23 points to lead Team Harris to a 82-69 win.

That set up a final against Indiana Elite 2018, and a long awaited match-up against Robert Phinisee, a point guard ranked No. 61 in the latest Scout100. 

Hunter checks in right now at No. 85.

"We haven't played each other in an AAU game before, so it will be fun," Hunter said before the game.

Round one went to Phinisee and Indiana Elite by a 84-71 score. Phinisee had 21 and Hunter finished with 11 points.

"We're a talented group," Hunter said. "The offense is going to come since we're talented. Defense is the biggest thing for us."

They'll get the chance to show progress at the defensive end with a trip to Dallas for the first spring evaluation weekend at the adidas Gauntlet event (April 21-23). It's the first of two weekends in April where college coaches sit courtside to watch prospects compete.

"I am looking forward to it," Hunter said. "Getting new schools involved, keep the interest of the same schools. It will be fun."

He has some key goals in mind.

"To show that I've gotten better," Hunter said. "Show my point guard abilities, pass the ball and get guys open."

Hunter's list of high major offers has expanded to include Purdue, Butler, Xavier, Nebraska and Minnesota.

New interest continues to build.

"Recent we've had Maryland, Temple, Wake Forest, Michigan is still involved and some other schools I can't think of right now," Hunter said.

The prior Indiana staff had shown some late interest but had not offered. Former head coach Tom Crean did  show up at his Martinsville regional.

New coach Archie Miller, however, has been in steady contact.

"We've talked a couple times and he's actually been texting me every other day," Hunter said. "He called me last Monday and was talking about how it is a new brand, a new coaching staff that is going to recruit and stay on me."

One thing stood out to Hunter in the call.

"That he said he would be the one recruiting me," Hunter said. "Mostly it is assistants and you barely talk to the head coach but he said he would be the one recruiting me."

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