July 28, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
We’re talking about one of the most versatile shooting guard/small forwards in the nation among high school seniors last year, and several big programs were all over the North Clayton High standout.
Hunt, though, had a track record for paying close attention during the recruiting process and by the time it was all over, he became a Yellow Jacket.
Who says recruiting begins and ends on the AAU circuit? Gregory watched Hunt tear it up at North Clayton, where he averaged 24.2 points, 14.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists last season even as opposing defenses paid more attention to him, and stayed hot on the recruiting trail.
It helped, too, that then-new Tech assistant Chad Dollar had recruited Hunt previously while Dollar was still on the staff at Wichita State.
Prior to Hunt’s breakout junior season, when he averaged more than 26 points, and the following summer as he became perhaps the most heavily-recruited backcourt player in the state of Georgia, he was drawing interest chiefly from mid-major programs.
“This was my senior year, and . . . Georgia Tech had not really been recruiting me before,” Hunt said before a mid-week workout. “It was Florida, Louisville, Florida State, Memphis, Georgia . . . I felt like Brian Gregory was the coach for me. I liked his coaching style. I feel like he’s a father figure when my father is not around.”
Alabama, West Virginia and Virginia Tech were in the mix, too, before Hunt chose to be a Jacket.
His father, Willie Hunt, comes to practice sometimes, his son said, yet Marcus is clearly becoming his own young man.
He said, “I may not be the fastest, or jump the highest . . . but people say I get in position to score. I’m a scorer. I like to run. I can shoot. I can be a lot of different things in a lot of different positions. In high school, I played almost every position.”
Gregory is looking for versatility in his wing players, that’s Hunt’s deal.
At 6-feet-5, 215 pounds and with a wingspan that you’re more likely to see on somebody 6-7, Hunt can be disruptive on defense — although like most freshman he’ll have a ways to go to reach Gregory’s standard there. Offensively, he’s more likely to help right away and he probably won’t be gentle in going about his business.
Once upon a time, he was a defensive end/tight end, and frankly, he liked football quite a bit. Growing up as a wee lad in Miami, he played football and basketball around the neighborhood, but never in organized fashion.
That changed soon after his family moved to College Park. One day, the W.L. Brady Recreation Center — about a mile northwest of what was then Hartsfield International Airport — and hoops beckoned.
“There was a dude handing out fliers. I took a flier on the way home from school, and then I just started playing from there,” Hunt said. “Up until my ninth grade year I played football, too, and then I chose basketball. I liked football, and I wonder sometimes how could I could have been. I just liked basketball more; I had a better feeling for basketball.”
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