Texas Basketball 2022-23 Player Profile: G Tyrese Hunter

Tyrese Hunter
Tyrese Hunter /

As Texas basketball inches closer to their season opener in the Moody Center against UTEP on Nov. 7, we at Hook’Em Headlines will be offering player profiles for everyone on the roster.

Hopes are high entering year two under the Chris Beard regime as this Texas basketball roster is undoubtedly one of the most talented in the country. A mixture of impact freshmen, transfers, and key returners have the Longhorns poised to make some noise on the national stage.

We have already previewed the two biggest returners on this Texas squad, Timmy Allen and Marcus Carr. Today, we take a look at impact transfer, Tyrese Hunter.

Tyrese Hunter

Tyrese Hunter was one of the crown jewels of the 2022 transfer portal. According to 247Sports, Hunter was the second-highest-rated transfer prospect of the 2022 cycle.

He immediately enters this Texas program as a starter in the backcourt next to super senior Carr. In his preseason media availability, Hunter noted the fit with Carr as one of the driving factors as to why he chose to come to Austin.

"“Marcus was a big part of my journey to get here. I wanted to really build a relationship with him, you know, we’re gonna be the key players with the ball in our hands. Us piggybacking off of each other’s game is a big thing for us.”"

Hunter has a chance to be the most impactful two-way player on the Texas roster and a first-round selection in the 2023 NBA Draft. Let’s dig into the details.

Looking back at 2021/22 for new Texas basketball G Tyrese Hunter

Tyrese Hunter had an incredible 2021-22 season for the Iowa State Cyclones.

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year was one of the main reasons the Cyclones were able to make the NCAA Tournament after being selected to finish last in the conference in the preseason.

Hunter averaged 11.0 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game last season. He started all 35 games, playing over 33 minutes per game in Big 12 play for T.J. Otzelberger’s squad.

Hunter’s shooting splits did, however, leave something to be desired.

He shot 39.1 percent from the field, 27.4 percent from three, and 68.7 percent from the line. A few scouts came out and said the one thing that was holding him back from being a 2022 NBA Draft selection was the lack of consistency with his jump shot.

An improved jump shot from Hunter would do wonders for a Texas team that lacks shooting. With that said, an improved jump shot would also mean Hunter’s stay on the Forty Acres lasts just one season.

Although Hunter’s jump shot was inconsistent last season, his defensive play was not.

Hunter was a finalist for the Lefty Driesell Award given to the nation’s top defender. Night in and night out, Hunter was tasked with guarding the opposition’s lead ball handler. He turned heads with his ability to disrupt offensive sets and get after you for the full length of the court.

The true freshman was the best defender on an Iowa State team that finished 21st nationally in opponents points per game.

Putting Hunter in a Chris Beard defense should get Texas fans very excited about this team’s potential on that side of the ball this season.

Looking ahead to 2022/23

Tyrese Hunter will start in the backcourt next to Marcus Carr. The question becomes, who takes over the primary ball-handling duty?

Neither Hunter nor Carr is true a point guard, so how Chris Beard navigates this ‘problem’ will be interesting to watch throughout the season.

The 4.9 assists per game Hunter averaged last season would have been the most by a Longhorn since Isaiah Taylor in 2015-16. Those assist numbers speak to Hunter’s playmaking ability as his fellow Cyclones did him no help in the process. They ranked 283rd nationally in three-point percentage and 234th in field goal percentage.

Hunter has proven to be a high-level passer in the half-court which is one of the main reasons I hope we see him deployed as the main ballhandler in this Texas offense.

I’ve said this in other preseason previews, and am once again going to echo it here; Texas needs to get out in transition this season. The lack of shooting will become magnified in the halfcourt, and with guys like Hunter, pushing the pace is not a problem.

After looking back at his Iowa State film, the best spot I like Hunter in is leading the break. Even in 3-on-3 fastbreak opportunities, his aggressiveness going towards the rim paired with an uncanny ability to dump the ball off at the last second makes him nearly impossible to guard going downhill.

This same sentiment can be displayed in halfcourt pick-and-roll offense, with Hunter putting an incredible amount of pressure on the screener’s defender. If he can prove to defenses that he can knock down a 20-footer with consistency, Hunter will be nearly impossible to guard in the pick-and-roll.

With all that said, where Coach Beard is going to excel at deploying Hunter is on the defensive end of the floor.

Even as a freshman, Hunter proved to be one of the best on-ball defenders in the Big 12. He finished last season with 71 steals, good for top five all-time for a freshman in the conference.

We all know Coach Beard’s calling card is defense, and the 2022-23 season will be no different. Having a player with Hunter’s athleticism and defensive ability to guard the opposition’s lead guard night in and night out is massive for Beard and Texas.

Listed at 6-foot and 175-pounds, Hunter has limitations when it comes to the type of player he can match up with. He will, however, be tenacious 90 feet up the floor and force opposing offenses into starting their sets from uncomfortable positions.

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There will be many times this season when the Texas offense goes stagnant but is ultimately bailed out by a few free layups scored off of a Hunter steal.

I expect Hunter to become a fan favorite on the Forty Acres with his smart playmaking on the offensive end and tenacity on the defensive end.