During the recruiting process and even after verbally committing to Columbia University in December, Mariner senior Rodney Hunter still couldn’t believe the premier Ivy League school wanted him.
Each time he said as much his mother Joy Hunter set him straight.
“Believe it,” she told him. “I’ve been telling that all your life.”
Hunter capped a brilliant athletic and academic career at Mariner by signing a National Letter of Intent to play for coach Kyle Smith in Manhattan next season.
It was the finalization of a process where Hunter admittedly had his mind made up early.
“I always wanted to play for coach Smith,” said Hunter, who became the sixth player in Lee and Collier counties to reach the 2,000-point mark in January. “I loved the way he said he wanted to use me. He said I’m a peacock and he’s going to let me strut my feathers.”
One of the most feared scorers in Southwest Florida, Hunter averaged 20.9 points and 6.8 rebounds this past season in leading the Tritons to a 21-7 record.
“I think a lot of people use the term ‘athletic’ as a disguise,” Tritons coach James Harris said. “With Rodney, he really is athletic and he also has the basketball IQ to go with it.”
Harris said there is no goal that is unattainable when it comes to Hunter, who excelled in the classroom with a 4.0 grade point average which was good enough to finish summa cum laude.
“We always told Rodney he had to continue to push himself to the highest level,” Joy Hunter said. “Now, he’s going to have to push himself to his ultimate level.”