9.22.2015

Anderson Hunt is in the House

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July 21, 1991
He had flown his mother in from Detroit in anticipation of a celebration. Instead, draft night turned out to be a disaster for Anderson Hunt.

Fifty-four names, including four of his UNLV teammates, were announced that night and his wasn't one of them. A junior who had taken a chance by coming out early - his coach said the move would be worthwhile only if he was a first-rounder with a no-cut contract - Hunt was stunned, deflated and confused. 

"It was terrible, just terrible," he recalled. "When I was in Chicago at the predraft camp, Chuck Daly started talking to me. He told me 'I don't think you'll be around when we pick, but if you are, we'll take you.' "

The Pistons picked 40th and chose La Salle's Doug Overton. He was one of 22 guards selected in the two rounds.

"After the Detroit pick, I knew something was going on," Hunt said. "I was trying to find out what happened. I'm still trying to find out. It's a puzzle, like that show, 'Unsolved Mysteries.' That's me. But it's all just going to make me work harder to prove everyone wrong."

Hunt is scheduled to participate in the Celtics' annual rookie/free agent camp, now under way at Babson College. He has been with the Washington Bullets the past week and their sessions end this morning. Hunt then is free to fly to Boston.

"The Celtics tried their usual strong-arm tactics to get him in before he was through with us," kidded Bullets general manager John Nash. "We let them have Cedric Lewis instead. And tell Red Auerbach we've already signed Hunt."

How did Hunt fare with Washington?

"He's been OK," Nash said. "He has played exclusively at point and that's a big adjustment for him. He's being asked to do in a couple weeks what sometimes takes a player two years to do. But it does seem a little illogical that no one picked him. You could, after Larry Johnson, make a case for any one of those other kids being the next most valuable player on that team."

Yet "those other kids" were recognized on draft night. Three went in the top 12; Johnson to Charlotte at No. 1, Stacey Augmon to the Hawks at No. 9 and Greg Anthony to the Knicks at No. 12. George Ackles was selected at No. 29 by Miami.

Yet Hunt, the MVP of the 1990 Final Four, the one that Vegas won, was hearing nothing.

"I guess I just got a bad rap," he said. "But I'm not second-guessing myself."

His freefall wasn't a total shock. NBA scouts were concerned about Hunt's height (6 feet 1 inch) and his ability to play point guard.

"I can play the point," he said. "I still haven't met anyone from Detroit who couldn't handle the ball."

And Hunt didn't make any believers at Chicago, where he got hurt and promptly left town, neglecting to pay his room charge.

In addition, NBA scouting director Marty Blake said Hunt made a big mistake by leaving school before his eligibility had expired.

"I think he made a big mistake coming out," said Blake. "I don't think he's ready. And 27 teams didn't like him enough to draft him. He's small, he's not a true point guard and he's a one-dimensional player. But I really think he made a mistake coming out."

Hunt averaged 14.8 points a game in three years at Vegas, during which the team went 98-14, won an NCAA championship and went to two Final Fours and a regional final. His scoring average and shooting percentage increased each season, and he averaged more than 3 steals a game.

He was a Prop. 48 candidate out of Southwestern High in Detroit, but paid his own way his freshman year to retain all of his eligibility. In his first year at Vegas, he made a game-winning 3-pointer to eliminate top-ranked Arizona from the NCAAs. And he capped his memorable sophomore year with 29 points against Duke in the NCAA title game.

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