Hunter commits to Western Kentucky

Houston (Tenn.) guard is the second commitment in WKU's 2015 class, plans to sign in November.

Western Kentucky added a major addition to their 2015 recruiting class on Thursday, after Houston (Tenn.) shooting guard Marlon Hunter Jr. announced a commitment at his school.

Hunter chose WKU over a final list of DePaul, Northern Arizona, ETSU and UT-Martin, among others.

Scout national analyst Rob Harrington had the opportunity to evaluate Hunter this summer, and said WKU is adding a great pickup for their program.

"I view Hunter as a high-major prospect with the caveat that he'd have to choose his program wisely," Harrington said. "He has universal appeal at the upper mid-major level, however, so I think he made a great choice and has a chance to become a multi-year starter."

The 6-foot-2 guard played for Wings Elite on the highly-touted EYBL circuit this summer, averaging 13.0 points per game on 47 percent shooting, and leading the league in total steals with 44.

Levan Alston (41), Jalen Brunson (40), and 2016 Jayson Tatum (37) followed Hunter in the total steals category for 2014's regular season. Brunson is the No. 1 ranked small forward nationally in the 2015 class, and Tatum is No. 1 in 2016 at the same position.

Former Tyus Jones (Duke) led the league in steals (48) in 2013, and former Stevie Clark (Oklahoma State) led the league with 39 in 2012.

"Hunter will be able to help (WKU) immediately in two regards: One, fullcourt offense, and two, all-around defense," Harrington said. "He's a dynamic presence stealing the ball, both passes and the dribble.

"He possesses the quickness, aggression and stamina to continually harass opponents, and that should earn him early playing time. He's also a fine transition scorer."

In an interview Tuesday with WKUInsider, Hunter's uncle, Carlos Lambert, said there were many more schools vying for Hunter's services besides the final programs on his list--but they trimmed it down based on some selective criteria.

"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."

The newest Hilltopper shined brightest this summer at the EYBL's postseason event, the Nike 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 an 88-68 win.

In another postseason 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.

Despite those impressive outings, and his growing reputation as a mid-range shooter/defensive specialist, there's still some areas of improvement for Hunter at the next level, namely his three-point shooting.

"He must improve his halfcourt offense," Harrington said. "He shot the ball poorly on the travel circuit and, unless he improves his shooting significantly, will be the kind of player defenses back away from and dare to shoot.

"He also must take better shots and not force offense off the dribble."

According to Lambert on Tuesday, Hunter will sign his National Letter-of-Intent during the November signing period.

Stay tuned with WKUInsider for more developments from Hunter's announcement throughout the evening.


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