Decision Preview: Marlon Hunter

Uncle of Houston HS (Tenn.) guard previews upcoming Nov. 6 commitment announcement.

If there's one area of weakness to pinpoint on Western Kentucky's roster preseason, it's depth at the wings.

But that weakness could end up benefiting them in their next recruiting class.

Talented Houston HS (Tenn.) guard Marlon Hunter is announcing his college decision on Thursday, with WKU, DePaul, UT-Martin, ETSU and Northern Arizona as finalists, according to his uncle, Carlos Lambert.

"There were more in the mix, but just going through and looking the rosters and seeing who's staying and who's leaving, that was a big factor for us," Lambert said. "Also seeing how did they play freshmen guards, how freshmen in general got minutes, that was important."

According to Lambert, Houston will have a large pep rally to introduce the boys and girls basketball teams on Thursday, followed by a scrimmage.

Then towards the end of the event, Hunter will make his commitment announcement with local media present.

College coaches took extra note of the 6-foot-2 guard after an impressive summer on the highly-touted EYBL circuit, averaging 13.0 points per game on 47 percent shooting, and leading the entire league in steals.

"They (coaches) like his mid-range, he shoots from there really, really well," Lambert said. "Right now, we go over in the gym, I've seen Western Kentucky play on their recorded games, they play those ball screens and pick and rolls, and he fits that really well.

"Coaches also love his defense, I always tell him don't worry about the offense because that comes naturally for him, but defense, I mean he led the EYBL in steals, in both the regular season and at Peach Jam (postseason.) I feel like those create easy buckets for him. I think he can come in wherever he goes, and just off defensive effort alone, he can come in and make a positive impact on the game."

At Peach Jam against Southern Stampede and shooting guard Prince Ali (UCLA), Hunter scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, also earning 7 rebounds and 5 steals to lead Wings Elite in a 88-68 win.

In another Peach Jam contest against shooting guard Quinndary Weatherspoon and the Jackson Tigers, Hunter scored 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting and forced 8 steals in a 75-59 win.

How is the 6-foot-2 guard able to force so many turnovers?

"Length, also anticipation," his uncle said. "Sometimes, like guarding a crossover for example, we work really hard on sitting low.

"A player, if you know he doesn't want to go left, and you know they're gonna go left to come back right, you can read that and with his length he can create that steal. We've been looking at colleges where he can go and give at least 20 solid minutes right away, be a positive impact with his defense right away."

While there's a lot to like about Hunter's game, that doesn't mean him and his uncle aren't working towards some improvements.

"One thing we're working on is being more vocal," Lambert said. "Sometimes he knows maybe a ball screen is coming, or something is about to happen, and he needs be more vocal about it, let the team know what's coming.

"He's working on college three-pointers right now too, we're not working on high school three's as much. So hopefully when he gets to that level, he'll be able to merge really well."

WKU's lead recruiter on Hunter is assistant coach Shawn Forrest, who Lambert has formed a solid relationship with during the guard's recruitment.

"Coach Forrest, man, he's a keeper," Lambert said. "He knows how to talk to you, he knows how to make you feel welcome, he knows how to entertain, he knows how to give you stats and stat lines.

"He's a really down-to-earth coach, he'll tell you upfront, if you can't come here and play you can't come here and play. He's just very honest, when we've come down there he's shown us great hospitality. Always made me feel like if Marlon does go to Western Kentucky, he'll be taken care of. That's always what you want, you want to know that he's being taken care of."

After Hunter announces his decision on Thursday, he will go ahead and sign his National Letter-of-Intent during the upcoming fall period, which begins Nov. 12.

"Plan is to sign this period, go ahead and get it over with," Lambert said. "Try to have a great high school season, don't have to worry about recruiting, work on getting ready for the next level and make his transition to his next team as easy as possible."

Stay tuned with WKUInsider.com for more coverage of Hunter's decision leading up to his Thursday announcement.


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