Earlier this week, the Purdue Boilermakers got some tough news as the program learned guard Eric Hunter would be sidelined with a knee injury for six to eight weeks. The news comes as Purdue is finishing its preparations for the 2020-’21 season.
Purdue guard Eric Hunter Jr. to miss 6-8 weeks with knee injury https://t.co/zegPzq8Koc— WLFI News 18 (@WLFI) November 11, 2020
Hunter was a significant contributor for the Boilermakers last season, starting 30 games and averaging 31.5 minutes, 10.6 points, and 2.6 assists per game. He also finished the season well, scoring double-digits in the team’s final three games before the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments were cancelled due to the NCAA Tournament.
Purdue issued the following statement regarding the injury:
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue head coach Matt Painter announced that junior guard Eric Hunter Jr., will miss the next 6-8 weeks after suffering a compression fracture of his tibia in his knee during Monday’s intrasquad scrimmage. There is no structural or ligament damage in the knee.
Hunter Jr. averaged 10.2 points and 2.6 assists per game last year as a sophomore.
Purdue opens the season Nov. 25, against Liberty in the Space Coast Challenge in Melbourne, Florida.
Hunter was also building up plenty of hype entering this season. He came in at No. 22 in our preseason Big Ten player rankings. Here’s some of what I wrote about his game:
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.
. . .
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.
The Boilermakers will now have to turn to players like Jaden Ivey, than Morton, and Isaiah Thompson to carry things in the backcourt. Of course, everyone wishes Hunter the best in his recovery in the meantime.