Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Indiana Basketball 2019-20 Player Previews: Jerome Hunter

The 2019-20 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner.  To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every player on the 2019-20 IU roster.  You can see all of our player profiles in one place here.  If you are looking for the 2019-20 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.


From a story of disappointment, fear, and what could have been, to once again, what could be.

Jerome Hunter could have never imagined how his freshman season at Indiana was going to turn out.

An emerging star during the preseason with a clear significant role as a true freshman, Hunter had to shut it all down before it ever started.

While a precise diagnosis was never released, we know from statements by head coach Archie Miller and IU that Hunter has dealt with a “medical condition” rather than an injury, and he required surgery on his legs.

Hunter was a top 50 recruit coming out of high school and appeared to be on track for a productive freshman season.  Instead, he was relegated to the bench as a spectator, left to wonder if he could have helped save a season that went sideways.

Could Hunter have done enough to push IU to a couple more wins last year?  Probably, but we’ll never know.

Instead, it is time to look forward to a fresh start that has Hunter, Miller and Hoosier fans optimistic once again.

ESSENTIALS

Image result for jerome hunter indiana

  • Height:  6-foot-7
  • Weight:  220
  • Position:  Forward
  • Class:  Redshirt Freshman
  • Hometown:  Pickerington, Ohio
  • High School:  Pickerington North

2018-19 STATISTICS

Hunter did not play during the 2018-19 season.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Hunter on what he can bring in year one —

“They recruited me for my versatility, and I feel like I’m versatile and I feel like I can just be anywhere on the court that he wants me to be.  I feel like that can help the team a lot.”

Head coach Archie Miller on Hunter’s last year —

“Jerome went through a very tough freshman year.  A lot of guys go through injuries. A lot guys have to sit, and that’s hard for people. Jerome not only did that, but also had a condition that’s not just an ankle sprain or repair of the knee. It was a little different.”

Joey Brunk on what he has seen from Hunter —

“He’s been great in our open gyms when we went live.  He plays hard.  He shoots it well.  He’s long.  He’s a good defender.  I think he’s going to be an important piece for us this year.”

VIDEO

Jerome Hunter after the 2019 Hoosier Hysteria.

WHAT 2019-20 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE

Success for Hunter doesn’t start with basketball.

While he looks to move on from a year of frustration, his physical well-being is the first order of business.  We were reminded of that when IU last formally updated his status in late September —

“His return to basketball continues to be monitored by IU’s Men’s Basketball Sports Medicine staff and will be managed accordingly.”

Since then Hunter has been a full participant at practice and played in both the Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage and the closed scrimmage against Marquette.

All indications are favorable thus far, and that means we can finally talk about Hunter in the context of his performance on the court.

It probably makes sense to think about his season in two halves, with the first being Hunter regaining his conditioning and skill level, and the second being where he is fully back to 100 percent and can really start to make strides again as a player.

Miller has pointed to Hunter as someone that can help IU improve on its perimeter shooting.  That might be his most immediate impact on this team.

If Hunter can knock down three-pointers and provide some length defending opposing wings on the perimeter while playing about 15 minutes per contest during the nonconference portion of the schedule then most would call that mission accomplished.

If all goes well early on, Hunter’s progression this year should be very interesting to watch.

With Rob Phinisee, Devonte Green and Al Durham at the guard spots, and Justin Smith, Trayce Jackson-Davis, De’Ron Davis and Brunk manning the power forward / center spots, the opportunity on the wing couldn’t be more clear.

Perhaps Smith can develop more wing skills, but that hasn’t been the case thus far and it doesn’t necessarily sound like that is what Miller is looking for either.

That leaves the door open for Hunter.  If his body cooperates and his game starts to advance, it isn’t difficult to imagine him graduating to 20-25 minutes per contest and maybe even eventually becoming a starter as we get into January and February.

It isn’t difficult to imagine Hunter averaging around 10 points and 4 rebounds per contest once he starts playing those kind of extended minutes.

That’s all projecting into the future as a long and productive career appears to be back on track.

But for now, hearing public address announcer Chuck Crabb declare Hunter’s entry into his first college game, and the resulting applause from the crowd, will feel like a major success story in and of itself.


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