Could Hunt become a Badger?

Already working out for members of the Wisconsin coaching staff, Charis Prep power forward Dario Hunt is a work in progress but could find himself holding a Wisconsin scholarship.

While many recruits have the natural five-star talent right from the start, some players don't achieve their potential until being incorporated into the system and having a few years of development under their belt.

Charis Prep power forward Dario Hunt fits into the latter of those two options.

Playing for three years at Pine Creek H.S. in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where, according to Hunt, basically just ‘ran up and down' the court, Hunt has refined his game under Charis Prep (NC) head coach Carlos Peralta when his family moved to Goldsboro (50 miles southeast of Raleigh).

The move for the 6-foot-7, 220-pound post-grad student paid off for Hunt, who averaged 15.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 4.1 blocks last season.

"Coach (Peralta) really taught me what to do on the court," Hunt told Badger Nation. "This was my first real year of coaching and I learned a lot of the stuff that has made me a better player. This year and what I did can definitely help me at the next level. I know I can play college basketball."

The Wisconsin coaches seem to think so, as personal from the Badger coaching staff paid a visit to Hunt at the end of February before the Wisconsin-Illinois game in Champaign.

"Coach Gard said that he liked my athleticism when he came and visited and told me to just keep improving," Hunt said. "I think my strength is working around the basket but I need to improve in everything. I've been working hard to get ready to play at the next level."

From a coaching standpoint, Hunt, for basically playing one year of organized basketball, possesses a lot of quality skills that would suit him well at the collegiate level.

"He has very, very good defensive instincts, rebounds well, very tough kid, finishes well and is long offensively," Peralta said. "His better days are ahead. His rawness is not because he can't play, it's because he hasn't been taught and can't do it all in one year."

In the recruiting process the rawness has apparently outweighed his potential, as his list of scholarship offers lacks major schools. As of right now, Hunt is considering offers from East Carolina, College of Charleston, Long Beach State and Nevada.

So where does Wisconsin fit in? The Badgers already have five commitments for the 2008 class (Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans, Ian Markolf, Jordan Taylor and Robert Wilson) and it would seem there's no room for another scholarship player. Not so according to Peralta, as the Badgers have looked at Hunt strictly as a scholarship player.

"There's been no mention of a walk-on," Peralta said. "From their indication, they are looking at him as a scholarship player and I don't know internally of a scholarship opening up. Coach Gard came and would recommend that a scholarship be offered and would have us wait for the boss (Bo Ryan) to get here.

"Everything was hinging on how well they would do in the tournament," he added. "We'll know in the near future when or if they are going to follow up on that."

According to Hunt, East Carolina and Nevada are on the top of his list but that could change if Wisconsin offers a scholarship.

"It's the Big 10, one of the best," Hunt said. "They are in the tournament every year, have a good coaching staff and really develop their players, which would fit for me."

With visits to East Carolina and Nevada on the schedule in the coming weeks, Peralta said the school Hunt goes to will depend on how he wants to approach his collegiate career.

But wherever he goes, Hunt will no doubt blossom into a solid player.

"It's just a matter of what he's willing to do," Peralta said. "Does he go to a program that is more established or has the some depth in the post or is he willing to wait and learn or go somewhere where he can play immediately and learn on the job? He's still trying to understand the game. That's the thing about him. There's not a whole lot on the canvas but he has a chance to be painted in different ways depending on where he goes. He's definitely good enough to wear a jersey at a big time program."

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