KFS Draft Watch: De’Andre Hunter vs MTSU

Spencer Pearlman continues our Knicks Film School Draft Watch with a breakdown of De'Andre Hunter's game vs MTSU.

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Once again, I know it’s not amazing competition from a name standpoint, but MTSU actually put up a battle for most of the game – Hunter wasn’t just playing against some small no name team. MTSU has some athletes and individual players who kept them in the game.


Offense

  • Hunter is looking more and more comfortable shooting threes. Even though they are still stationary, he took 9 (!) combined threes vs MTSU and Coppin State. Competition is not as good as ACC play, but he’s taking them. It might be a bit early to go all in on his shooting stock yet, but I’m definitely buying some stock.
  • He was actually close to getting a triple double this game (1 assist, 2 rebounds shy), but most of the playmaking came off of simple pindowns and quick hitters. Instead of including those, I kept those out of the video and focused on the actual playmaking assists, or would be assists. He had a few nice drive and kicks, two high-low passes, and one face-up and drop off against a zone (big bobbled the ball) that popped.
  • He looked more comfortable putting the ball on the floor. This led to some drive and kick opportunities, but also a few drives to the rim. His handle is a work in progress, but he’s using it more regularly than he did last year in tighter spaces, so that is a great sign. Two of the times he put the ball on the floor really popped to me – 1) the BLOB where he stepped around the closeout and to the left of the defender on the inbounds and 2) attacking the closeout, spun away from the help, and finished with an outstretched arm underneath the defense.

Defense

  • Once again, his defense is so fundamentally sound. He gets in a stance, moves his head back and forth tracking his man and the ball, rotates and positions himself well, and gets through screens well (low and tracks man).
  • The getting through screens part of his defense is particularly impressive to me considering his 6’8, ~230 lbs frame. He’s a big guy who moves really well for someone his size, even if he lacks the quick twitch athleticism that makes the crowd go “oooh.” One play that popped to me was where he got bumped with a hip, was pushed slightly off course, but stayed tracking and used his length to defend. He just understands how to defend.

  • The positioning was on full display against Coppin State, so it was not something I highlighted much in this video. He does an excellent job positioning himself in help often cutting off two players in help, and when he’s not needed to cut off two, he does a great job stunting and recovering.
  • Around the 1:11 mark in the video above, watch his footwork on Hawthorne’s crossover. It’s in perfect synch with the ball handler. This tells me he’s watching the defender’s hip vs the ball because he’s moving with the body and not the dribble. I watched this play 10x, including once in slow motion, and it’s still awesome to watch.
  • The last defensive clip starts around the 3:30 mark. I put this in there because he was everywhere on defense. Even when he’s not the main defender, he finds a way to impact the play and help out his teammates. Again, his IQ is unbelievably high on defense – I’d say he’s either the best, or second best, defender in all of college basketball.

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The clip below is the first defensive play of the game against Dayton on 10/22. The clip speaks for itself and I have nothing more to add.