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Tyrel Hunt was close to settling for a Division II school at this time last year. Then, before making a decision, he thought about how far he had come in one year, from a fringe rotation player to a key component at Cardozo, and he realized if he had made such strides in that short a period, why not see what the next year would hold.
The answer: a Division I basketball scholarship.
Hunt parlayed a big season at God’s Academy in Dallas, Texas, into a full ride to Alcorn State of the SWAC. The 6-foot-6 wing picked the Braves July 10 over Bradley and Hampton. He also drew interest from TCU, Loyola of Chicago, Louisiana at Monroe, Boston University and Texas @ Arlington, Coach Tim Miller said, after averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds per game in leading God’s Academy to an 18-3 record.
“I wanted to chase my dreams because I knew I could do better,” he said.
The Rosedale native felt comfortable with Alcorn State Coach Luther Riley. With plenty of turnover, including the graduation of leading scorer Marquis Baker, Hunt sees an opportunity to contribute immediately. Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio and Miller expect him to make an impact at some point, if not right away.
“I think he’s a steal,” Miller said. “Tyrel has the ability to get his shot off anytime he wants. He took the time to work on his jump shot and left hand, and that made him more effective as a starter.”
Hunt made a name for himself at Cardozo his senior year as a lockdown perimeter defender, solid rebounder and relentless scorer around the hoop going to his right. He improved his left hand and shooting range while at God’s Academy.
Hunt gradually worked his way up at Cardozo, averaging 21 points per game as a sophomore on the junior varsity, contributing as a junior to a varsity team which reached the PSAL Class AA Finals at Madison Square Garden and tallying nine points and eight rebounds as a senior, keying the Judges’ run to the semis.
“What I like to think Cardozo is [about] is Tyrel, a kid who works hard, buys in, goes to class, listens to Coach Naclerio and lets the chips fall where they may,” Naclerio said. “If there are more kids like him out there, let them come to Cardozo. He was a treasure to coach.”
Hunt decided on Alcorn State this week before visiting because he didn’t want to delay his path to Division I anymore. He knew what he wanted just as he did at this time last year when he passed on Division II.
“It feels good,” Hunt said. “It was important to me. I didn’t want to shortchange myself.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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