Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter, who averaged nine points this season and won the ACC’s Sixth Man of the Year honor, won’t play in the NCAA tournament.
Hunter has a broken left wrist, and Virginia on Tuesday ruled him out for the rest of the year. The school says the injury happened during the ACC tournament, which Virginia won. Hunter played in all three of the team’s games there, scoring between nine and 12 points in each.
He’ll have surgery on March 19, while UVA hopes to be getting ready for the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers play UMBC in the first round of the tournament Thursday in Charlotte.
To go along with 9.2 points per game, Hunter averaged 3.5 rebounds. He averaged almost exactly 20 minutes and, as a redshirt freshman, became a key bench piece for Tony Bennett. Virginia has three headlining guards in Kyle Guy, Devon Hall, and Ty Jerome, but Hunter carved out a crucial role for himself. At 6’7, he has more length than any of them, and he put that to use in becoming one of the team’s most efficient rebounders.
The Hoos are great, but they don’t have a ton of depth. Bennett has rolled with an eight-man rotation for most of the season, and Hunter’s athleticism and versatility helped make that work. Winning the tournament will require Virginia to win two games in three days on three separate weekends, and that’s extra hard to do with just seven rotation players.
Hunter was a four-star recruit in the class of 2016. From the Philadelphia area, he was the No. 14 shooting guard and No. 91 overall player in that class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He figures to be major part of UVA’s plans over the next few seasons.