March 16, 2011

2012 guard likes Grant, Tide

The University of Alabama made perimeter shooting a priority in its 2011 recruiting class, but that doesn't mean head coach Anthony Grant isn't looking for another wing player to add to his 2012 class.

With a surplus of talent in the state of Georgia next year, the Crimson Tide coaching staff has its eye on a number of players from the neighboring state, including 6-foot-6 guard Marcus Hunt from College Park, Ga.

"I think Alabama has been more towards the forefront here lately," Hunt's AAU coach, Mike Maynard, said. "The coaching staff has come to see him play, and he likes Alabama a lot. He likes its proximity to Georgia. It's not too far for his mom and his dad to get down and see a game, but maybe far enough away to start his own life."

Hunt has been to Alabama's elite camp the last two summers and wanted to come for a game this year, but couldn't work it into his schedule. Still, he kept an eye on how the Crimson Tide was doing.

"Alabama really caught my attention this year," Hunt said. "I didn't get to catch a lot of games because some nights I had high school games, but the games that I saw were high-intensity and they played great defense. Offensively, they got out and ran, which I like."

Both Hunt and Grant are originally from the Miami area, which not only helps the two relate, but makes Hunt feel even more comfortable around UA's second-year head coach.

"Coach Grant is a good coach," Hunt said. "He's going to make you work. Sometimes you can go to him and ask him things that you need help with. He's like a father, both on the court and off the court."

After struggling through injuries his freshman year, Hunt really started to emerge on the AAU circuit last summer and continued that play into the fall at North Clayton High School. As a junior this season, he averaged 26 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists per game.

"Last year, I had a different role. They had me at the four," Hunt said. "This year, I switched my role and came out to the wing more. I played the one, two, three and four this year, so really I was all-around. That opened me up to show what I could do."

Alabama offered the guard in January and since then he's seen his recruitment really take off. Hunt also has offers from Florida State, Miami, Nebraska, South Carolina and Wichita State, and has recently drawn interest from Florida, Georgetown and Louisville.

"He reminds of Ohio State's David Lighty," Maynard said. "If he's called upon to score, he can get to the rim, do some things in the mid-range and is a credible 3-point shooter, but he's also a team player. He can play a role.

"He will probably do just about anything if he's required to do it and can help a team win a lot of basketball games."

Maynard is the director of player development for the Georgia Stars, one of the premier AAU programs in the country. He helped recruit Hunt to play there and has coached him the last two years.

"He really knows how to play the game of basketball," Maynard said. "He's the type of kid that everybody wants to play with. He's very unselfish when he's around equal or greater talent."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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