The Book On Hunter

Othello Hunter, the latest Ohio State men's basketball commitment, is a bit of a mystery. An under-the-radar recruit, Hunter is a player who didn't seem to flourish much in high school and only averaged 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds last season. Hunter's stock began to rise during the summer, however, and Ohio State wasn't the only school interested. Kyle Lamb has more on the background of OSU's latest commit.

So who is Othello Hunter? By now, you probably know he's a 6-9 power forward from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. But that probably doesn't help a whole lot.

So let's get a little more in-depth here, and give you the book on Hunter.

Hunter is a sophomore at Hillsborough that came from Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. where he played two seasons.

In high school, however, Hunter was a virtual unknown. In fact, very few people are even familiar with what he did at Reynolds, or how he made the journey to Hillsborough.

What better way, then, to familiarize people with Hunter from someone who actually has seen him quite a bit. For that, we bring in Rick Ball, the publisher of Ball-Stars.

Ball has been a long time scout for junior college players. Several programs nationally subscribe to Ball's publication in search of possible help from the junior college level. Every year, Ball runs a camp during the summer for many of the top talent on the JUCO level nationally.

It's a camp that this past July was attended by Ohio State -- a subscriber of his letter. That's where Hunter first stood out to the Ohio State coaching staff.

Hunter turned the heads of coaches in attendance, but also turned the head of Ball as well. The last time Ball had seen Hunter was during the season back in February.

"He has improved even since I saw him last in February," Ball explained. "I was surprised at how much better he was even since that time. He's like a weed in your back yard - every time you step out and look at it, it's gotten so much bigger."

Although Ball admits he doesn't know a lot of Hunter's background, he does know how Hunter has progressed in a year's time.

He, like many others, has to rely on reports from others as to Hunter's high school background, but it's clear that Hunter is a fast-developing prospect.

"I know people who have said he was barely a factor in high school for whatever reason whether it was grades, talent, effort, or whatever. I don't know the reason, but he didn't thrive in the high school setting," Ball said. "I don't know his story and at this time last year, I didn't even know who he was but he has really gotten a lot better."

What exactly is Ohio State getting with Hunter?

"It's a dirty word, but they are getting potential," he said. "It's potential just because he had little or no high school career."

"He's still a bit slender, still a bit green, but he's got great potential," he added.

Hunter is 6-9 and 215 pounds. Ball believes he has the frame to put on 20 pounds of muscle, and still be extremely athletic and rangy.

Last season as a freshman, he averaged 8.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Hunter is also considered a real good shot-blocker as he continues to get stronger and develops further.

Offensively, Hunter has a decent array of post moves, and his jumper is limited to about 12 to 15 feet.

"It's running, it's rebounding, and it's rejecting," Ball said of Hunter. "Those are the things he does."

By this time you're probably thinking he sounds like a major project. But according to Ball, that's not the case.

This is what Ball thinks of Hunter's ceiling…

"Well, coming this far in a year like he has, I've seen JUCO players like this go on to have great pro careers," Ball said. "I hate using the 'pro' word with these kids, but it depends on how much he wants to work."

Ball gave perspective on Hunter's potential in comparison to another former Buckeye.

"I think he has a better upside than George Reese. Reese was 6-6 and he was a good steady player, but he's got a chance to be considerably better both for Ohio State and after Ohio State in terms of a pro career," Ball added.

According to Ball, Hunter is a prototypical power forward that will do the dirty work and provide a lot of athleticism to Ohio State.

If there are any reservations, it's simply that he's yet to stand out as a consistent high-level performer. But that might not mean he's not ready to do so.

"He's still got another year of junior college to play, and he's come light years in just one year," Ball explained. "I'm not saying he's a stretch for Ohio State at all. He didn't average 20 points or 10 rebounds a game. His numbers aren't gaudy yet, but they are looking at potential and that's what he has."


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