Transfer Hunter Hale making the most of second chance with GVSU men's basketball
Sometimes, a second chance is all it takes to make everything better. Not everyone gets that second shot, but Grand Valley State men's basketball guard Hunter Hale took it and hit nothing but net.
The GVSU sophomore transferred from Central Michigan's program, where he thought he could become part of the routine. However, circumstances dictated otherwise.
In his first year, Hale only touched the floor 11 times, scoring a total of 8 points on the season. The next year, college phenomenon Marcus King took over his position, leaving Hale in his shadow.
“(Central) was thinking about playing me as the backup, but I ended up redshirting my second year,” Hale said. “After that, I took some time with my family to think about my future. Then, I put up my release papers out, and Grand Valley contacted me.”
Hale came to visit the school and talk with the coaches. Shortly after, he received a scholarship offer from GVSU, which he signed without looking back. The sophomore's mentality was to come in to win, and his offensive skills proved exactly why he deserved to be a part of GVSU’s team.
"Hunter is a damn good shooter," said GVSU head coach Ric Wesley. “Now we can consistently make shots all the time, and he’s got a real knack of getting the ball in the bucket.”
Hale worked on making baskets all summer with his new teammates, who made him feel part of the team right away.
“Being here helped me grow as a person,” Hale said. “I was kind of battling injuries the whole (summer), so it was just me and the guys. Learning how they act around here and all that kind of stuff just helped me grow with them.”
During the summer, Hale proved his potential to the coaches, and he started right away as shooting guard. Hale’s shot has turned out to be lethal: He has been hitting open—and heavily contested—shots with ease.
“He’s got a beautiful shot technique-wise,” Wesley said. “There’s not much that can go wrong, and he gets zoned in because he’s got a lot of confidence."
Although he’s not the biggest guy on the court, Hale's mentality makes up for it. The sophomore has scored in double figures 15 out the 19 games played this season, recording season highs of 22 points against Davenport and Ferris State.
Hale proved his offensive prowess over the summer, and Wesley knows he needs to get the ball to his best scorer.
“I can adapt to everything," Hale said. “When I get the ball, I just try to find my areas to attack, whether it’s off of a ball screen or kick-and-drive toward the baseline.”
The sophomore isn’t just a shooter, and he wants to help the team to the best of his abilities. GVSU has had a remarkable stretch throughout the last nine games, winning seven of them and even winning six in a row. Hale attributes it to the team chemistry that is getting better every day.
“That break we had over Christmas really helped us grow as a team,” Hale said. “We hung out a lot. Over that time we learned how to play with each other better; we learned each other’s roles. I think changing our offense to a motion offense helped a lot, too.”
Hale currently leads the team in minutes and points per game, averaging 13.6 a night, along with four rebounds and two assists a game. However, he’s not worried about his stats. His biggest motivation revolves around getting the “W.”
“At the end of the day, it’s all about winning here,” Hale said. “I just want to win games. Whether I score 0 points, 40 points, I just want to win.”