Verbal View: Junior College Swingman D'Angelo Hunter Gives West Virginia Versatility in 2017 Class

West Virginia's addition of wingman D'Angelo Hunter to its basketball recruiting class of 2017 gives it more versatility in crafting a replacement strategy for its departing seniors.

WHAT TO LIKE

Hunter has solid ball handling skills which allow him to score from a number of areas on the court. He can put the ball on the floor for a few bounces and pull up for mid-range shots, and can take it all the way to the hoop if space presents itself. He will need to gain strength in order to be able to do that in the more physical college game, as he has a slender build (6-7, 180 lbs.) that makes him susceptible to being knocked off his path. Still, good hands and handle are foundational strengths that he can build upon.

Hunter can also knock down shots out to the 3-point line. Although he's not a sniper, he made 21 threes in 19 appearances at Navarro last year, including a hot 5-7 showing against Trinity Valley. Put all of this together and Hunter looks to have a nice mix of offensive skills that will allow him to find ways to score no matter how a defense plays him. He's also a fierce competitor who plays hard no matter what the situation, and has presented himself as a leader in early action this year.


POSSIBLE CONCERNS

Hunter is, admittedly, a bit below the radar. That can happen when a recruit goes to prep school (St. John's Military Academy), gets injured and misses the entire year, then moves most of the way across the country to play in junior college. Add in a late start on playing time at that destination (Navarro College), and it's not surprising that many recruiters lost track of him. Hunter did not enter a game until December 2015, missing Navarro's first ten contests, and it took him a while to find his footing. That likely didn't impress recruiters looking for early breakout stars, but West Virginia, in the form of assistant coach Ron Everhart, spotted Hunter recently. Following a visit from head coach Bob Huggins, Hunter gave his verbal commitment.

That path can also lead to questions about stability, but Hunter has single-mindedly pursued his Division I dreams from the start of his basketball life. He didn't let low interest or the injury sideline him, even though junior college wasn't his first choice.. There's something to be said for that determination. The question remains, though, as to whether he can make that final leap to achieve his dream.

As mentioned above, there's also the strength question. Hunter must be diligent, and self-motivated, in the weight room this season if he hopes to be prepared to contribute at WVU in the fall of 2017. That can be difficult to do, given the lack of support programs at many jucos, so it often comes down to the player himself.


OVERALL ANALYSIS

Hunter squares up and shoots the ball reasonable well, and has a consistent, if rather unconventional, release. He's working hard on improving his handle and scoring ability in different manners, and knows, as most Bob Huggins recruits do, that defensive improvement is a priority. That sort of self-awareness, combined with the fight he has put up to earn a Division I offer, stands as one of the strongest plus marks in his favor. If he continues to work, he could be one of the diamonds in the rough that become valuable contributors under the future Hall of Fame coach.

Hunter will also benefit from a roster turnover that will see four players depart from this year's team. While he's not a fit to replace Brandon Watkins, he could find different roles for himself, such as a step out 3-point shooter (Nathan Adrian) or as a bigger wing who can play either the two or the three positions. Again, a lot depends on his continued development at Navarro this season, but West Virginia has a player that it hopes can fill gaps in his first season on campus.

West Virginia 2017 Basketball Verbal Commitments                 

D'Angelo Hunter 2015-16 Navarro Highlights


BlueGoldNews Top Stories