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Santa Fe Star Bobby Hunter Poses Potent Threat to BCC at State Tournament
March 5, 2013 - The Santa Fe State College team that awaits Brevard Community College in the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region 8 men's basketball tournament is much more than just one player.
But that player, 5-foot, 10-inch sophomore guard Bobby Hunter can be a handful for opponents. After all he is the nation's leading scorer with 791 points or 25.5 per game. But, he doesn't just score from the floor.
In his most recent game, Santa Fe's 68-58 victory against Florida State College Jacksonville that advanced the Blue Wave to the state tournament, Hunter led all scorers with 25 points on just 3-for-14 shooting. But, he was 18-for-20 from the free throw line which is no surprise since he also is ranked No. 1 nationally in free throws (269-for-348) Hunter also collected five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 40 minutes against FSCJ.
Hunter, who transferred to Santa Fe after being named a first-team NAIA Division II All-American at Oregon Tech, leads the Blue Wave (20-11) against BCC (24-6) in the tournament quarterfinals at 8 p.m. CST (9 p.m. EST) on Thursday at Chipola College in Marianna.
The game will be webcast live at www.psblive.com.
BCC head coach Jeremy Shulman is well aware of the challenges Hunter poses but also is aware that the Titans cannot focus on Hunter to the detriment of the other players on the floor.
"It's really tough," Shulman said. "Bobby Hunter is an outstanding player and there's a reason he's the nation's leading scorer. It's hard to prepare for a player like that because he scores in a variety of ways. He shoots 45 percent from the three-point line, he's got a great mid-range game, he finishes at the rim and of course he gets to the free throw line better than anyone else in the country.
"Our focus has been on knowing that he is going to score and we can't sacrifice, we can't allow the other guys on that team to go off and have great games as well."
The only other Santa Fe player averaging double figures in scoring is Roody St. Germain at 11 points per game. Takija Knight is the leading rebounder at 7.1 per game; Jordan Banks is averaging 6.1 boards per game and Andrea Robinson 5.9.
Hunter also paces Santa Fe in assists at 3.5 per game and averages 4.4 rebounds.
Santa Fe finished second in the Mid-Florida Conference to powerhouse College of Central Florida which at 27-3 overall had the third-best record in the state behind Palm Beach State (29-2) and Northwest Florida State (25-2).
As for BCC, the FCSAA Southern Conference champion, 6-4 sophomore forward/guard Addison Spruill, the conference Player of the Year, is the leading scorer at 17 points per game. Spruill also is the second-leading rebounder at 6.6 per game and second-leading free throw shooter at 73.2 percent.
Sophomore Nyles Evans, a 5-11 guard, is second in scoring at 15.8 per game and 6-7 freshman forward Jure Gunjina third at 10.6. Gunjina is the leading rebounder at 6.8 per game while 6-3 freshman guard Ben Patrick leads in assists at 4.1 per game.
Gary Gaskins, BCC's 6-10 sophomore center, leads the team and is tied for sixth nationally in blocks at 3.1 per game and is third nationally in field goal percentage at 68.4. As a team BCC is ranked second nationally in made three-pointers at 282.
So, in essence the team that best negates the opponent's offense and finds a way to beat its defense, should win.
But, games aren't played on paper. They are played on hardwood where intangibles can and many times do make a difference.
Does anyone have an edge when it comes to the intangibles?
"The easy answer is no on that because it just remains to be seen," Shulman said. "So much about the state tournament is going to be who plays looser, who plays with more confidence and in return who is going to make shots.
"It is interesting to see what team comes out and is ready to go."
To that end, BCC has not played since defeating Broward College on Feb. 20 to win the conference title. Santa Fe last played on Feb. 26.
How the layoff affects BCC, if at all, will be apparent once the ball is tipped on Thursday night.
"We'll see," Shulman said. "It's tough to predict. It could go either way. It could really hurt us because we've been playing good basketball and having two weeks off is a long time off. Maybe it gives our guys a break away from the game a little bit where they can be re-energized and play the best ball of the season so far.
"We'll see Thursday night."