Jesse Hunt (203-F-97, college: EWU) is a 23 year old 203cm forward from Australia that completed his second professional season with Rasta Vechta averaging 7,9ppg and 5,9rpg while shooting 45% from downtown. He had began the season with Keravnos Strovolou (Cyprus-OPAP Basket League) playing 7 Basketball Champions League games averaging 10.0ppg, 8.7rpg, 1.3apg, 2FGP: 41.4%, 3FGP: 39.1%, FT: 73.1%. He played his rookie season with Manisa Buyuksehir Belediye (Turkey-TBL) playing 20 games averaging 9.2ppg, 7.1rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 25.3%, FT: 66.2%. He played at : Eastern Washington University (NCAA) from 2015-2019 playing a total of 116 NCAA games and as a senior played 34 games averaging 14.6ppg, 8.7rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 52.1%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 75.2%. He spoke to germanhoops.com at the end of the 20-21 season.
Jesse thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you and how is basketball life treating you?
No worries! I just got back to the United States after spending 9 months overseas. First five months with Keravnos in Cyprus, and the next 4 months with Rasta Vechta of the BBL. The basketball life is treating me well! I’ve loved being able to play in Europe.
What would have been the first eatery that you visited had you gone to the States right away back to Washington?
My girlfriend and I went to a nice Restaurant in Spokane, Washington called Wooden City.
Before we talk about basketball, I have to ask you about COVID. What was the most challenging thing for you in your second season with COVID?
Definitely having to be on lockdown in both countries I played in. Also not being able to have my girlfriend or family fly out to come visit. Going 9 months away from them was definitely the toughest part.
How can one honestly rate this season with all the drama that went on with COVID? Every team had their problems.
Definitely had some problems. But I think the leagues did a great job of keeping the schedules normalized and not having to postpone too late in the year.
Rasta Vechta may have been one of the best 18th placed teams in the BBL ever. Was the team better than what it’s record showed?
We certainly were. We simply couldn’t escape injury. Missing certain players like Jean Salumu, and Dennis Clifford for extended periods of time hurt our team big time and we had other players missing games due to injury often. We showed potential as a team when we were all healthy, but struggled when we weren’t.
If you don’t play defense, it obviously will be more difficult to win games. Why wasn’t the club ever able to find a solid identity on the defensive end?
I honestly believe we could have been a much better defensive team. Once again, missing great defenders like Jean and Dennis for a lot of the season hurt our team. Especially Dennis being a great rim protector.
Despite finishing in 18th place and not getting a wild card, what positives do you feel could the organization take from the season that will lead them in the right direction?
I believe Rasta is a tremendous organization. From the management, coaches, and players. I truly believe Rasta will be back in the BBL in no time and wish the club nothing but success for the future.
Let’s talk about some of your teammates. How much of a thrill was it being able to call Josh Young your teammate? What did you learn to appreciate most about him on and off the court?
Josh is not only a great basketball player, but an amazing teammate and captain. Getting to know Josh and follow his lead was an honor. He’s a legend over there in Germany and I can easily see why!
One young German player who continues to develop is Philipp Herkenhof. How did you see his game continue to grow more in the time that you were there?
Unfortunately I only got to share the court with Phillip for 2 games before I got a concussion and prior to that, Phillip was injured. Although it was only for a short stretch, I can easily see his potential being 6’10 and a great perimeter shooter. Phillip has a very bright future!
Let’s talk about your game. You came to a new team in mid season averaging 7,9ppg and 5,9rpg and shot 45% from outside. How content were you with your own game?
I’m never content with my game. I always believe I can do more. But it was certainly a good stepping stone in the right direction for my career.
How content were you with your defensive game coming from a lower league and having to cope with the physicality of the easyCredit BBL?
I thought I did good defensively. I bring a lot of energy and can guard multiple positions. I definitely need to get physically stronger to matchup with some of the 4’s and 5’s better, but overall I think I did fine.
You shot a very strong 45% from outside. Getting off that shot quicker is something you have stated you continue to work on. How content were you with how you were able to shoot at a high clip?
I was happy to shoot 45% this season. Getting extra shots up after practice is something I try to do everyday. I still need to work on getting a quicker release, but I was happy with the percentage.
On what areas of your game besides physicality, from the perimeter and in post up situations so you can continue to move up the basketball ladder?
I think the biggest thing for myself is to continue to get physically stronger not only for defense but offense. Being a versatile player I believe getting physically stronger will certainly elevate my game.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the easyCredit BBL this season?
I would have to say Luke Sikma. He’s just incredibly smart on both ends of the floor and can hurt you in a variety of ways.
How powerful was that comment Kwame Brown recently let go about his career and Michael Jordan?
I haven’t looked into the Kwame Brown stuff too much, but it seems to me he was dealing with a lot of anxiety as a young man which can be tough for anyone.
Chris Paul recently passed Magic Johnson for fifth all-time in assists. Where do you rank him with the best point guards all-time despite never having won a ring?
I think Chris Paul is a top 5-10 point guard of all time. Despite never winning a ring, he impacts winning on every single team he plays for. That to me, is a hall of fame player and one of the best to play the position.
Where do you see the journey going with Jayson Tatum who recently scored 60 points? Is he a top 10 player in the NBA now?
Tatum will have an amazing career. He’s very poised and has a tremendous offensive package. I believe he is a top 15 player in the NBA right now but not top 10
Dino Radja recently said he couldn’t see Russell Westbrook leading a team in Europe to success. Do you agree?
I disagree with that. Russell plays with passion, determination and athleticism that you simply haven’t seem out of a 6’4 point guard in the history of basketball. He also impacts winning wherever he goes. Russell is a winner!
Draymond Green recently said that he is the best defender on the planet. Do you agree?
I think he’s the best help side defender especially in today’s NBA. But I don’t believe he’s the best on ball defender on the planet.
Have you seen the Coming to America sequel? It has had mixed reviews. Shouldn’t they just have left it alone?
I have not seen it yet.. I’ll have to watch it and let you know! Thanks for the interview, Miles!
Thanks Jesse for the chat.