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Texas G Tyrese Hunter declares for 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining college eligibility

A fringe draft prospect at best, Hunter will likely return to the Forty Acres after receiving feedback from NBA scouts.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional- Miami (FL) vs Texas William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Longhorns sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter declared for the 2023 NBA Draft on Monday while maintaining his eligibility to return to school following the pre-draft process.

A 6’0, 175-pounder from Wisconsin, Hunter signed with Iowa State in the 2021 recruiting class as the No. 37 prospect overall and the No. 6 point guard, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. As a freshman, Hunter was a standout for the Cyclones, earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors and finishing as a finalist for both the Kyle Macy Award (top freshman in Division I) and Lefty Driesell Award (nation’s top defender) after starting all 35 games and lead the team in assists (4.9 apg) and steals (71) and ranking second in scoring (11.0 ppg) and minutes (32.1 mpg).

When Hunter opted to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal after the season, 247Sports ranked him as the second-best available player in the portal. Texas eventually landed Hunter, who was sensational in an early-season win over then-No. 2 Gonzaga with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-8 shooting from three. But Hunter also dealt with recurring cramps early in the season before suffering a wrist injury that impacted his shooting. And though Hunter has extraordinary athleticism and the capability to be an elite on-ball defender, the combination of injuries and a lack of attentiveness at times loomed as disappointing.

In the overtime win over Rice on the day that former head coach Chris Beard was arrested, Hunter scored only two points, then matched that performance a little more than two weeks later against Texas A&M-Commerce. To start Big 12 play, Hunter sandwiched a 29-point effort in the home loss to Kansas State with 16 total points in the other four games in conference, including a zero-point performance against Texas Tech.

The inconsistency continued until the end of the season — Hunter was 0-of-8 shooting in the Big 12 Tournament title game win over Kansas, but scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the NCAA Tournament win over Xavier, hitting all three of his three-point attempts.

Hunter ended his sophomore season scoring 10.3 points per game on 39.4-percent shooting, including an improved 33.7 percent from three, but saw decreases in his per-game rebounding, assists, and steals.

As a fringe NBA draft prospect, at best, Hunter is likely to return to school after receiving feedback during the pre-draft process. If Hunter does come back to the Forty Acres for his junior season, he’ll be one of the team’s most important players with the chance to rank among the best in the Big 12 with some improvement.