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Step Into My Office: Tyrese Hunter

Tyrese had big moments but there is plenty to work on

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional - Iowa State vs Miami Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

To put a bow on this college basketball season, we’re once again diving into a classic series of ours where we ask each returning Cyclone to “step into my office” to review the season that was, and take a shot at what next season could look like.

In this edition of “step into my office”, we look at Tyrese Hunter’s overall performance from this season, which was a phenomenal season for the freshman point guard who helped lead Iowa State to their first sweet 16 since 2016.

Season Recap

Let’s start off by appreciating Hunter for sticking with his commitment to come to Ames even after Steve Prohm was fired. Once TJ Otzelberger was hired this was the first big question mark, could he keep the highly-touted point guard from Wisconsin to keep his commitment to the cyclones? The answer was yes and we’ve seen how well it’s panned out for both sides as Hunter went on to win Big 12 Freshman Of The Year. Playing point guard as a freshman at the Division 1 level anywhere isn’t easy but doing it for a first-year coach, playing an upwards of 35 minutes a game, in the toughest conference in basketball, while doing it for a team that is coming off a 2-22 season is just another level of ridiculousness.

Hunter was never a major scoring threat for Iowa State although he did show flashes and having spurts of impressive drives, and the ability to finish at the rim.

Where Hunter really thrived on the court for Iowa State was facilitating the offense and always finding the open guy with some fantastic passes, especially for a freshman.

Hunter was also a great leader for the cyclones off the court. He’s been praised by teammates for being a vocal leader for the team the whole year. He even went viral during the tournament when the team was in the tunnel before the Round of 32 against Wisconsin when he screamed “If you’re scared take your ass back to the locker room”. Which just completely embodies everything this Iowa State team was able to accomplish this year.

Look back at the numbers

While Hunter was phenomenal for Iowa State this year putting up 11 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5 assists a game. There were a few aspects of his game that will need to improve for this Iowa State team to take the next step. The first one of those is the turnovers, he averaged 3.2 a game which for a point guard in the Big 12 is something that is going to have to be limited going forward.

The next one would be his 3-point shooting ability. We saw that Hunter has the ability to get hot from deep as he went 7-11 and carried Iowa State to their first win in the tournament over LSU, but his overall consistency needs to take another step. He shot 27% on the year from beyond the arc, if he wants teams to respect his ability to score and not just defend the pass he needs to increase that to the 33-35% range for his sophomore year. If Hunter is able to do this he’s going to be in a really good spot to earn 1ST Team All-big 12 honors and potentially Big 12 Player of the Year.

2022-2023 Outlook

The 2022-2023 season has a chance to be a really special one for the Cyclones. Iowa State is bringing in a great recruiting class and hopes to have contributions from all 3 signees right away. There is no doubt this team is going to go where Hunter goes. If Hunter is able to limit turnovers, increase consistency from beyond the arc and continue to find guys who hit open shots. This team will have a chance to fight at the top of the Big 12. If Hunter stays the same as last year with his turnovers and shooting struggles, we are going to see an Iowa State team that again struggles to find any offensive consistency. This season is going to be big for Hunter because if he’s able to put together a season building off last year there is a very good chance he hears his name being called in the lottery of next year’s NBA Draft. Either way, I can’t wait to see what Hunter has in store for next season.