In the months leading up to the 2020-’21 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Eric Hunter of the Purdue Boilermakers, who came in tied at No. 22 in the rankings. The Boilermakers are hoping he can build off a successful sophomore season.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - No. 22 Eric Hunter:
- Eligibility: Junior
- Career Totals: 67 games, 1,430 minutes, 407 points, 151 rebounds, 121 assists
- 2019-’20 Averages: 31.5 min, 10.6 pts, 3.3 rebs, 1.8 asts, 0.1 blks, 1.0 stls
- Positional Role: Point Guard
Last season was a frustrating one for Boilermaker fans after the considerable success the program experienced in the years prior. However, Hunter was a relative bright spot and a big reason why the team’s advanced stats profile looked so good. Fans are hoping he and the team can take another step forward this time around.
Hunter was a pesky player last season and I mean that in a good way. He was a great on ball defender and could do just enough offensively to keep defenses honest. Hunter ranked 16th in the conference in steal rate and hit 35.5 percent of his looks from three-point range. Those are nice numbers to have when you’re not the primary offensive option (Trevion Williams was and is expected to be once again this season).
Along with those skills, Hunter also remained a decent threat to get to the line and converted on 76.1 percent of his free throw attempts. He also finished as one of the team’s most efficient passers last season.
-Areas for Improvement
Hunter is a nice complimentary piece offensively. He can facilitate and do a lot of little things right, such as finding an open shooter and convert at the free throw line. However, he’s not a volume producer. He was well behind at least three other players in usage last season and finished with a 104.2 offensive rating. If Purdue is going to achieve significant things this season, it’s going to need that to improve. Hunter has to be better than a complimentary piece offensively.
Additionally, Hunter could also improve his turnover rate. His 19.5 mark was well below most of the other contributors on the team and well behind many of the league’s top guards. Modest improvements on the boards and outside the arc could also do wonders.
With Williams returning for his junior season, there’s no debating who will be the team’s primary offensive weapon. As such, expect Hunter to continue to be a second or third scoring option (at best) for the Boilermakers next season. But he should be able to take a moderate step forward there and continue to dominate defensively.
And if Hunter can find a way to elevate his production, Purdue could quickly become one of the most dangerous teams in next year’s Big Ten. It should be fun to see what he and the Boilermakers can do this year.