Texas Basketball: 3 biggest disappointments after first 8 UT games

Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball /

Tyrese Hunter, G

The returning player for the Longhorns in the backcourt rotation who had the biggest expectations entering this season was Hunter. The junior guard and former Iowa State Cyclones transfer returned for his second season at Texas after an up-and-down first year with the Longhorns during the 2022-23 campaign.

Hunter was brilliant in stretches at the beginning and end of the season for the Longhorns during his first year in Austin. But the bottom fell out for Hunter in December after the departure of former Texas head coach Chris Beard.

Hunter scored in the single digits while posting the lowest box plus/minus and offensive rating on the team in games between December and February.

Once postseason time arrived, though, Hunter turned it up a notch. He averaged nearly a dozen points per game, three rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block while shooting 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep in March.

The hope and expectation heading into this season for Hunter was that he would show the version of himself that appeared in the postseason last year. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a version of Hunter to start this season that appears closer to what we saw from him during his down stretch in the middle of last year.

Among the starters, Hunter has registered the worst box plus/minus and win shares per 40 in the season’s first eight games. He’s also posted the worst true shooting percentage among Texas’s starters and the highest turnover percentage among the Longhorns’ guards.

Many of Hunter’s issues on the offensive end of the floor have stemmed from his drop in three-point shooting efficiency and the lack of fastbreak points for him in recent games. After averaging over six fastbreak points per game in the first three games this season, Hunter has averaged two in the last five outings.

Abmas has initiated the transition and half-court offense more in the last five games than he did at the outset of the season, which has taken some of the production on the offensive end from Hunter.

It’s also noteworthy that Hunter has not made a three-pointer in the last five games. He’s 0-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc in the last five.

Texas needs more from Hunter regarding offensive production and consistency regarding his defensive effort if this backcourt between him and Abmas is to live up to the hype this season. He’s played well at times on the defensive end, but it doesn’t show up consistently night in and night out.

Hunter is too important to this team to have these inconsistencies on both ends of the floor as part of the starting backcourt. And it’s a worrying sign that we’re still having these conversations regarding Hunter’s down stretches on both ends this season.

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