By Joseph Staszewski
Kyle Hunt is used to going unnoticed. The 6-foot-10 power forward was unheralded coming out of Martin Van Buren high school, far from a New York City basketball power.
“I wasn’t that big in high school or college,” said Hunt after his Team Harlem squad’s 84-73 loss to Team Nike 2 at Rivington Court on the Lower East Side July 30.
There wasn’t a scholarship awaiting him following his time with Van Buren. Instead, it was off to Snead Community College in Alabama to again prove himself. The usually reserved Hunt did just that, being named the Northern Division Player of the Year. He averaged 17.8 points per game and grabbed 11.8 rebounds over his two seasons in the Deep South.
His performance earned him a scholarship to Division I Middle Tennessee State. There, he averaged 4.1 points per contest and 2.9 boards while playing in 19 games. There were flashes of brilliance, though. In the Blue Raiders opener, Hunt recorded a double double of 17 points and 12 rebounds and had an 11-point night against Evansville. He would only last one season there for a variety of reasons, such as issues in the classroom and lack of playing time.
“I still got to experience it,” Hunt said of playing Division I basketball. “It was all right. Everything turned out well this year. I don’t have any regrets.”
Thanks to a connection through the Middle Tennessee State coaching staff, Hunt landed at the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma, an NAIA school that gave him a chance to finish his degree. He was immediately a star, eventually being named to the NAIA All-American first team last year, his senior season. Hunt was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 18 points per game along with 10.6 rebounds.
“He can do it all,” said Antonio “Mousey” Carela, who coached Hunt with Team Harlem.
Hunt, the older brother of former Christ the King football and hoops star Terrel Hunt, has become one of the streetball circuit’s most productive and underrated players, Carela said. He had 30 points for the Rosedale Trailblazers at Hoops in the Sun, multiple 20-point games for Queensbridge at Nike Pro City and has been a key component for the Silva All Stars at the Tri-State Classic. His size also makes him a force on the boards as well as a factor in the paint.
Hunt is hoping to end the summer with a contract overseas. Carela believes he just needs to be seen by the right people.
“He’s still young,” Carela said. “We will be good for overseas. If he gets more muscle, he’s going to make some type of noise.”
Hunt is already beginning to and is happy where he and his game are out right now despite all the stops along the way to get there.
“It was a long journey,” Hunt said. “I was able to travel to different states and see different states. It turned out to be good.”