Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 15, 2012

Boyd County’s Hunt going Division-II

Senior basketball player signs with Lincoln Memorial

Aaron Snyder
The Independent

CANNONSBURG —  

After spending his junior high school season on the sidelines, Austin Hunt is eager to step onto the floor donning a fresh Boyd County basketball uniform.
On Wednesday, he finalized what kind of jersey he’ll wear next season — Lincoln Memorial University blue and gray. Hunt signed a National Letter of Intent at Boyd County High School.
While Hunt attracted Division I attention — Illinois-Chicago, Wright State and Evansville were among those interested — his visit to Lincoln Memorial left a lasting impression. The Railsplitters are currently ranked fifth in NCAA Division II. They went 26-6 last season before falling in the NCAA regional semifinal round.
“They’ll be chasing a national title every year,” Hunt said.
His aspirations to study biology and be a pre-dental student also swayed him to LMU, which has all new math and science buildings on campus.
“I’m not going to play in the NBA so my career choice was a big factor,” Hunt said.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound small forward had to sit out his junior year for Boyd County after transferring from Russell due to KHSAA rules. As a sophomore, he was a top scorer for the Red Devils at nearly 15 points per game.
While it pained him to watch the Lions from the bench, Hunt made the most of his time.
Thanks to Boyd County girls basketball coach Pete Fraley, Hunt got hooked up with Arkell Bruce, an assistant coach at Huntington Prep Academy. He practiced with some of the most talented players in the country, including Kentucky target and five-star recruit Andrew Wiggins, regularly.
“The first day I got up there, I guarded Andrew Wiggins,” Hunt said. “Playing competition like that three or four times a week, wow.”
Hunt also hit the weight room hard, gaining 15 pounds.
This past spring, Hunt played on the Louisville-based Kentucky Gators AAU team. That’s where he impressed plenty of college coaches. 
Hunt has expanded his repertoire on the court.
“I’ve always been known to be able to take it to the basket, but I’ve worked on my outside game,” Hunt said. “It’s like what Michael Jordan says, that the defense is always wrong. I want to be like that. Whatever you think I’m going to do, you’re wrong.”
Improved defensive skills, Hunt said, also helped him to earn a full scholarship from Lincoln Memorial.
Some may question why Hunt made his college decision before playing his senior season at Boyd County. For him, the answer is easy.
“It’s one of those things I wanted to get out of the way,” Hunt said. “My focus is on winning a 16th Region championship.”
Boyd County coach Randy Anderson can’t wait to see how Hunt pans out for the Lions.
“He’s hungry,” Anderson said. “Any time you take a competitor and take him away from his prey, he’s itching.”
The coach was also elated to see Hunt’s dreams of playing college basketball come to fruition.
“He has a vision, he has a dream,” Anderson said. “He’s not afraid to be coached, not afraid to work.”
As for Hunt’s feelings about Anderson: “Words can’t describe how good he’s been. I haven’t played one official minute for him and I can already say he’s the best coach I’ve ever played for.”
That first official minute will happen on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The opponent? Russell, Hunt’s former school. On the road.
“It’ll be a good show,” Hunt said.
AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.
com or (606) 326-2664.