H/T Jon Lopez/Nike
Gianni Hunt enjoyed himself a breakout season for the defending Peach Jam champion Oakland Soldiers. We caught up with the talented junior prior to Peach Jam, hitting on a variety of topics with the personable prospect.
Question: What went into joining the Oakland Soldiers?
Gianni Hunt: To be honest, I was with them from the jump. Them winning last year wasn’t a big factor. I came in with a great group and we wanted to play together.
Q: What type of adjustment did you have to make playing in the EYBL?
GH: Heading into the season, I was still recovering from a broken ankle. I really just needed to get adjusted to playing with three different guards. I’m used to having my ball in my hands the majority of the time, so there was definitely an adjustment.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between HS and grassroots?
GH:Speed and physicality for sure. Everything is taken up a notch (in the EYBL). The speed, size, everything.
Q: What do you feel best on the court?
GH: I can control the game. I don’t need to score to impact the game. I can impact the game just by having the ball in my hands and dictating the pace.
Q: Do you have a preference, high school ball or grassroots?
GH: Not really. In high school, the sold out games, student section, that’s a great experience. As far as playing, it doesn’t matter.
Q: Talk about the broken ankle, how was that journey?
GH: Before the injury, I felt like I was playing some of my best basketball. It took me about three months to recover, get my strength back, and my confidence. Everything was mental, I started playing not to get hurt, if that makes sense. It took a lot of time. I’m back to 100%.
Q: What are you most excited for about Peach Jam?
GH: Winning it. I feel like we have a good chance to go back to back.
Q: What guidance have you gotten from head coach Marshall Collins heading into Peach? He’s fresh off running that gauntlet last year.
GH: Coach (Collins) just stresses that we have to come in prepared, be ready to sacrifice and do the dirty work. We have to have that mentality. Whatever it takes to win.
Q: How’s the recruiting process going?
The recruiting process is going well, I’m enjoying it. I won’t cut my list until late August.
Q: How many offers do you have right now?
GH: I have 7 offers
Q: What’s your favorite part about playing hoops?
GH: I just love having fun. Playing defense, getting guys open, being myself. I feel like there’s a weight lifted off my shoulders when I’m playing. I just feel free.
Q: Talk about how you fit in with Scotty Pippen Jr & Boogie Ellis, both elite guards. You mentioned an adjustment...
GH: Playing with them has helped me, it’s helped me expand my game instead of just being a point guard. Scotty is real good at flashing and moving without the ball. Boogie is a great one-on-one player. I think we are the three best lead guards in California. We knew we were going to have to sacrifice. We all wanted to win, so we came together and knew we had to be unselfish. We knew we could be part of something special.