Everyone who watched March Madness in the year 2015 remembers RJ Hunter’s game-winning triple to upset three-seeded Baylor in the first round of the tourney. His father, Ron Hunter, fell off his stool in jubilation after his team clinched the second NCAA Tournament win program history.
Following his junior season, the 6-foot-6-inch guard was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 28th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. His 6-foot-11-inch wingspan and excellent playmaking skills combined with his knockdown 3-point prowess made him a desirable option for a rebuilding Celtics squad.
In his first NBA season, Hunter split his time between the Celtics and their D-League affiliate, called the Maine Red Claws at the time. He averaged 2.7 points per game in his 36 game with the Celtics while putting up 13.8 points in 30.8 minutes per game in his eight games with the Red Claws.
Prior to his second season in the NBA, the Celtics waived him, and he to pick up a contract with the Chicago Bulls just three days later. He played just three games in a Bulls jersey that season before being waived yet again. Hunter spent the rest of the 2016-17 season with the Long Island Nets, averaging 18.0 points in 30.1 minutes per game over 24 games.
Hunter’s G-League stint continued into his third professional season, where he suited up for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He had his best pro season to date, scoring 20.4 points per night on 44.3% from the field and 37.7% from three in 45 games with the team. As a result, he earned him a two-way contract with the Houston Rockets.
In the first three months of the 2018-19 season, the guard changed teams three times. After being waived by the Rockets before the season, Hunter signed a two-way with the Hawks, where he would also be waived. He then join their G-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. He played 22 games before getting another two-way deal with the Celtics. He spent the rest of the season splitting time between the Celtics and the Red Claws.
In the summer of 2019, Hunter signed his first international deal with Turk Telekom of the Basketball Super League (BSL), where he averaged 9.8 points per game and 2.9 assists per game in 16 games before headed back to the U.S. for another G-League season.
Hunter started off the season off suiting up for the College Park Skyhawks. In 10 games, the then-26-year-old averaged just nine points per game. The season came to an abrupt end when the COVID -19 pandemic hit.
In June 2020, the guard ventured to Europe once again as he signed with Galatasaray of the Turkish BSL league. He averaged 9.0 points and 1.5 assists per game in just 15 games.
He signed with the Sydney Kings in July 2021, but after just three games in the NBL, Hunter ruptured his left patellar tendon in the first quarter of a match with the Illawarra Hawks.
Hunter missed the next two seasons, but the former first-round draft pick’s journey brought him back to the U.S. this summer. In August, he reached a deal with the Charlotte Hornets and has a chance to earn a spot on the team’s 15-man roster during training camp. Hunter, now 29 years old, vies for the comeback that he has worked hard to achieve.