Anticipation builds as NBA Draft night arrives for Hunter

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- After months of workouts and years of waiting, NBA Draft night finally arrives Thursday night for Virginia's De'Andre Hunter.

“Kind of nerve-wracking, just don’t know where I’m going," Hunter said Wednesday at the NBA Draft media day, "Just ready for tomorrow to see where I’m going to be headed."

Hunter is expected to be among the top ten picks in Thursday night's NBA Draft with a front row seat as one of 22 players invited to the NBA Draft Green Room in Brooklyn. Throughout the draft process the anticipation has built for the 6-7 forward with this week's draft activities providing a short reprieve.

"Things like this pass the time, just lets me get my mind off that for a little bit, but as soon as I leave I’m going to be thinking about it," Hunter said on Wednesday.

Virginia men's basketball coach Tony Bennett will be sitting next t Hunter and his family on Thursday looking forward to seeing his former player achieve his dream.

“Of course De’Andre has positioned himself it appears in all these mock drafts in a really healthy spot," Bennett said, "I think it’s wonderful, those kids walk across, young men walk across, it’s a dream come true for them and then the real work starts as you go, it’s fierce."

After helping the Wahoos win their first NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship in program history in April, Hunter declared for the NBA Draft after three years at Virginia. During his career, Hunter was named the ACC 6th Man of the Year as a redshirt freshman and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. Hunter also earned the NABC Defensive Player of the Year and was selected as a second-team All-American this past season.

It is accolades like those that show Hunter's versatility, which he wants NBA scouts and front offices to take notice of on Thursday.

"Just a versatile player, a guy who can defend a lot of positions, take pride in my defense and a guy who can score on the other end of the floor," Hunter said.

In the latest mock drafts, Hunter has been picked as early as the fourth pick now owned by the New Orleans Pelicans and as late as the 8th pick by the Atlanta Hawks. No matter where Hunter ends up, he wants to show his new team he is a complete player.

"Not really one aspect, just everything," Hunter said, "Trying to be an all-around player and not be too specific and just focus on one thing and forgetting about everything else."

Even with draft night arriving, a lot remains in the air as teams try to make trades up and down the draft board leaving a bit of a mystery as to where Hunter will be drafted.

"You never know, I’ve been talking to a lot of teams, but at this point you never know what could happen," Hunter said.

But Bennett knows before too long he will see Hunter on the Barclays Center stage Thursday night.

"I feel pretty good about seeing him walk across and shake the commissioner’s hand," Bennett said.



 
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