Maryland assistant Cliff Warren has been in contact with Friends’ Central (Philadelphia, Pa.) wing DeAndre Hunter since the 2014 summer evaluation periods, and a year later the 6-foot-7, 180-pounder finally has an offer from the Terps. Hunter, who has rebounded from a torn ACL suffered almost two years ago, said he spoke to UMD’s Mark Turgeon July 26, the headman letting the Philly product know he was now a priority recruit.
“Maryland has been watching me for a long time now, so it was a real good feeling to finally get the offer from them. Coach Turgeon has come by my school before, we’ve talked before, and he was watching me out in Vegas,” said Hunter, who shined for his Philly Pride AAU squad during the final July evaluation period July 23-26 in Las Vegas. “[Turgeon] told me he was very impressed with how I played and how I’ve improved in the year or so since he started watching me. He said that I’m one of their top guys now, and he’s really going to push for me. It was great to hear.”
Hunter last visited College Park, Md., in October, when he had a chance to take in the campus and meet the staff in person. He would like to return for a more in-depth, lengthier stay in the next couple months, likely for an unofficial visit.
“Maryland isn’t that far so I don’t know if I’ll need to officially visit there, but I would like to get back,” Hunter said. “It’s a program that I’ve been watching for the last couple years, and they’ve done really well under Coach Turgeon. They’ve been impressive, and last year they were back in the tournament again. This year, they’re like one of the top teams out there, so that makes them a great option. I like their style, I like how they play up-tempo, and I like how it’s a program on the rise.
“When I was there, I liked the campus, I liked how the coaches were and I liked the atmosphere. I’ve been talking to Coach Warren for a good minute now, and we have a good relationship. He’s been watching me a lot too.”
The Terps, however, are just the latest squad to ante up for the Philly guard. Virginia, UMass and Illinois just offered in the last few days, and before that he added Rutgers, St. John’s, Uconn, Arkansas and UNLV. Meanwhile, N.C. State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, La Salle, Temple, Miami, Rhode Island, St. Joseph’s and a few others have had offers out to Hunter for several months.
“If I had to say right now, the UVA offer kind of sticks out,” Hunter said. “I talked to their head coach for a good while [July 26], and it was a really good conversation. UVA just won the ACC last year and they’re always at the top of that conference now. I like how they play too; they set a lot of screens and just play great defense, and I love to play defense.
“Uconn and UNLV stick out some too. They’re both really high-major programs, they’re always solid and they’re always in the tournament. I like the offenses at both those schools too.”
The above may have Hunter’s attention for now, but he said the staffs that have been pushing the hardest for him include Miami, St. Joe’s, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and now UVA.
“Those are the schools that contact me or message me like every day or every other day,” Hunter said. “Miami has been pushing for a long time, and now UVA is really involved. Arkansas has been there for awhile, and my coaches are actually setting up a visit for me there [Aug. 1]. Georgia Tech is right in there pushing too.”
So far Hunter has been able to see St. Joe’s, Maryland, Temple and St. John’s. He’ll check out Arkansas Aug. 1, and has plans to see UVA, Uconn, UMD and others in the coming months.
“I can’t say exactly where I’ll be visiting yet, because I want to see all the offers that come in and then talk things over with my coaches,” Hunter said. “I think in like a couple weeks, once things settle down, I’ll cut my [favorites] list and then go from there.”
Hunter wouldn’t reveal which schools would “definitely” make the leaderboard, but the sense is UVA, Uconn, Miami and possibly Arkansas, UMD, Ga Tech a couple others will be firmly entrenched.
As far as a possible decision date is concerned, Hunter said he’d like to end his recruitment sometime before the spring, but “I do want to take some official visits.”
“I still have a lot to think about and a lot to talk over,” Hunter said. “But I think I showed these [college] coaches what they needed to see, that I’m a versatile player; I play good defense; and I can help a team win in a lot of different ways. I think I’ve showed a lot of improvement, and it feels good that my work is paying off.”
Hunter Talks Terps Offer, Updates Status
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