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Love of basketball, family carries R.J. Hunter's NBA dreams


Love of basketball, family carries R.J. Hunter's NBA dreams

Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter, one-half the father-son duo that sprung their own version of March Madness upon the college basketball world in Jacksonville, will spend Thursday just where you would imagine. No, not in Brooklyn, site of the 2015 NBA Draft, but in Atlanta with his family.

Yet it was in Toronto where the shooting star realized the reach of their NCAA Tournament experience. The 6-foot-6 wing threat with deep range, mounds of charisma and a puncher's chance at becoming a lottery pick explained it all in Washington Tuesday afternoon. The projected first-round selection's final workout ahead of Thursday's draft took place with the Wizards.

"I think this my 10th and final (workout). I'm starting to lose track of days and hours. I don't even know what day it is," Hunter joked with reporters.

Forgetting what city he's in upon first waking up, that's seems reasonable considering the amount of travel prospects endure during this month-long workout binge. Boston College combo guard Olivier Hanlan, another intriguing member of Tuesday's workout, revealed Washington was his 18th stop.

However, what day it is, that they know, at least this week. All the lifting, running, shooting and preparing leads up to Thursday's draft.

"You go through this whole workout process and you kind of get days where you're stalemating yourself. You're trying to figure out what's really going on," Hunter said of the pre-draft process. "Trying to take care of the little things 'cause if you start trying to control the bigger things you'll stress yourself out. It's been a fun process, traveling from city to city."

The 21-year-old with starter's potential noted a significant upside. 

"No summer school, no class. That's the best part of it for real for me."

The best parts of Hunter's game - basketball instincts and perimeter shot - carried other small-school stars all the way to the NBA and then some.

"I think the (small school) guys you're talking about just know how to play. I think that's definitely a strength of mine," Hunter said. "The guys just work hard. The guys that stay in this league are always in the gym, the guys who love it. That's an attribute I have, that I've always had, work hard.

"And it's a shooters league now and a lot of these small school guys can shoot, guys like Steph Curry, C.J. McCollum. I think that's another attribute I can bring."

[MORE WIZARDS: DeMarcus Cousins drops the emoji hammer amid trade buzz]

Ignore Hunter's 29.8% clip from beyond the arc during his junior season and focus on his range and shooting touch (88.7 FT %). Opposing defenses sent double teams and geared schemes toward stopping the eventual two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year. Tasked with leading the attack, Hunter admitted to careless choices at times. "Good players see good defenses so there is no excuses for that. I just think I didn't make enough shots."

Hunter will have plenty of room to roam should he land with the Wizards and therefore play alongside point guard John Wall, whose passing skills make shooting easier for teammates.

"A lot easier," Hunter stated. "He's a guy who gets [down] the court in 2.5 seconds and then is looking to dish. That's why Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal got so many open shots because of a guy like him. I think I can fit in with that."

Creating open shots is one. Having the players capable of sinking the jumpers is another. The Wizards need more help in this area.

Noting the league's trend toward creating perimeter space for shooters, Hunter exclaimed, "It's perfect for me right now and the right time to come in."

The Hunter's, R.J. and Ron, came into national prominence when the son capped a rally with a mammoth game-winning 3-pointer for an upset win over Baylor at the tourney site in Jacksonsville. The stunning nature of the comeback and buzzer-beater caused Ron, hobbled by a busted Achilles, to fall from his sideline chair and America to fall for the Hunter's.

Make that North America. In Toronto for a workout, a man came up to R. J. Hunter and told him, "Hey, good shot."

"That's how I knew March Madness put me on the map," Hunter said.

In Washington, the big guard with big guts explained why he wasn't heading to New York for Thursday's big day.

"I got the invitation, but I'd already been setting things (up) and I'd rather be around my family and friends and kind of do my own thing," Hunter said. 

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Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

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Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-94 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Playoff implications: Later in the season the stakes are raised and the Wizards' win over the Sixers on Sunday night could loom large in just a few weeks.

By beating the Sixers, who had won seven straight entering the matchup, the Wizards tied up the season series with their second win. A loss would have handed Philly the tiebreaker in playoff seeding if the two teams finish with the same record at season's end.

Now that their season series is over and locked even, it will come down to their record against other Eastern Conference teams if they tie. At 22-15 vs. the East, the Wizards currently have the edge on the Sixers, who are 18-14 in that category.

The Wizards dominated the Sixers for much of the night and they did so by once again moving the ball with generosity and precision. They had 35 assists on 43 field goals. The Wizards have had 30 or more assists in five games this season and four have come within the last month.

Those four games have been part of a 9-3 surge for the Wizards since John Wall got injured. With their win against Philly, the Wizards moved to 35-25 on the season and a half-game out of third in the East. The Sixers are among several teams nipping at their heels in an increasingly crowded conference.


Oubre put on a show: The Wizards led 67-48 at halftime and that was in large part due to Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s impact on both ends of the floor. He had eight points in each of the first two quarters, including four threes, and made several key plays on defense.

Oubre had three blocks to set a career-high by halftime, including one on Robert Covington that bounced off Covington's leg and gave the Wizards possession. He also took a charge on Ben Simmons and flashed a smile for the cameras as he sprinted back down the floor.

Oubre ended the game with 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It wasn't long ago that Oubre was in a significant shooting slump.

In his last 11 games before the All-Star break, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points on 31.2 percent shooting. In three games since the break, Oubre has scored 47 points (15.7/g) while shooting 51.5 percent. It's safe to say he's put those shooting struggles behind him.

Oubre had been making his mark defensively as the Wizards closed the first half on a tear, but Sunday showed how much of a boost he can provide when he's in a rhythm offensively. He completely changed the game and helped the Wizards knock off a team that came to Washington super hot.

Porter wasn't fazed: Otto Porter did something on Sunday that likely has never been accomplished before. He hit not one, not two, not three but four buzzer-beaters all in the first half. Three of them were to beat the shot clock. Then, he hit another one to end the first half:

That shot capped an 8-1 run to end the second quarter for the Wizards and it brought a burst of energy out of the crowd. Porter had 14 points in the second quarter and shot 6-for-6 in the frame. The Wizards outscored the Sixers 37-20 in the second and Porter led the charge.

Porter finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Much like Bradley Beal, who had 24 points in this game, Porter has thrived in this second extended absence for Wall. Both Beal and Porter battle inconsistency as they adapted to being the primary focus of opposing teams back in November when Wall first went down. But this time around, they have answers to everything teams are throwing at them.

Porter's patience at the end of the shot clock on Sunday was an example of that. His confidence seems to be at an all-time high, knowing he has enough tricks to keep his opponents guessing. That was on display with under two minutes to go when he drained a three in Covington's face, turned around to stare at him afterwards and then shook his head as he trotted down the court, as if he were saying that no one can stop him. 

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday before playing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bucks and Warriors. Tuesday is an 8 p.m. tipoff on TNT. We will have pre- and postgame coverage of Wizards-Bucks on NBC Sports Washington Plus beginning at 7 p.m.


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Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.