Back home for a break from school and basketball, Bahamian teenage sensation Samuel Hunter said he’s looking forward to the next stage of his basketball career, which would be at the collegiate level in the United States.
The 18-year-old phenom has already seen action with The Bahamas’ senior men’s national basketball team, and will be joining fellow Bahamian Franco Miller in Oxford, Mississippi, as a member of the Ole Miss Rebels in the fall. Hunter said he’s ready to get to work and hopefully lead the Rebels to national prominence next year.
The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels fell in the opening round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament to the Oklahoma Sooners last week. Hunter, who is in his senior year at British Columbia (BC) Christian Academy in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, is one of the Rebels’ top recruits for the 2019-2020 season. The 6’9” 230-pound forward was a double-double machine for the BC Christian Prep Panthers this past season. He is joined on the team by fellow Bahamians Leroy Adderley, D’Ante Dean and Kendrick Russell.
“I’m excited. This past season went very well for me. I got to come back home and play in November and also played a lot in the United States. That experience helped me out tremendously,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to going to Ole Miss and being able to contribute. It’s going to be a great experience playing with Franco – that’s something that I am really looking forward to. I like what I heard from the coaching staff. They want to utilize me at the three (small forward) and the four (power forward), and I feel that’s best for me. I just want to be able to continue to learn. Coach Davis is a smart coach and I feel that he could bring out the best in me. It’s just up to me now to go there and perform.”
Coach Kermit Davis and the Rebels finished sixth in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with a 20-13 win-loss record, 10-8 SEC. They fell in the second round of the SEC Tournament and were an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament.
“I just have to go there and continue to work hard. I saw a lot of improvement in my game over the last three years at BC Christian Prep, and I’m just looking forward to continue to improve,” he said. “Playing over there is quicker, but I adjusted well. It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me. Being a part of the national team process last year, playing with and against pros, helped me to see the game from a different perspective. It made me analyze when to pick my spots and do certain things offensively and defensively. I’m working hard every day in preparation for the next level. I’m just shooting and getting up a lot of shots, and continuing to put in the work. I’m just looking forward to making the most out of the opportunity.”
Weather-wise, Hunter said he’s looking forward to making the transition from the chilly and windy conditions in the great northwest to the mild and humid atmosphere in Oxford, Mississippi. For him, it’s a step closer to home as well.
“Coach Davis wants me to come in, be a rebounder, stretch the floor, shoot from the perimeter and be able to put the ball on the floor,” he said. “Defense and guarding the perimeter are just a couple areas that I want to improve on for the next level. I’m confident. I love basketball and I just want to be able to continue to improve. I feel like once I keep working I’ll be able experience success at the next level.”
At home, Hunter works out on a regular basis at MacFit 360 with Jimmy Mackey and works on his game at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. He was a part of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) and International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Basketball without Borders (BWB) Americas Camp in Nassau, The Bahamas, in 2017, following his first season with the BC Christian Prep Panthers in Canada.
At the 2017 FIBA Americas Centrobasket Championships for Under-17 Men in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, he helped lead The Bahamas to a seventh place finish, putting up numbers of 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game. The following summer, he played with the senior men at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Prior to his third season with the Panthers, Hunter was already seeing marked improvement with his game, and then his numbers continued to go up.
Last November, Hunter and the Panthers played in the inaugural Caribbean Tip Off Classic in Nassau. Hunter embraced the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd, pouring in more than 30 points per game during the four-day tournament. He was named to the classic’s all-tournament team. Hunter went on to play in a number of tournaments in the United States and Canada this past season, averaging a double-double for the Panthers.
Graduation is next on Hunter’s agenda. He leaves today to complete his senior year at BC Christian Prep in Port Coquitlam, Canada, and will then begin preparation for his freshman year with the Ole Miss Rebels.