In two seasons at Ohio State, Othello Hunter has gone from rookie to senior leader
By Jeff Symonds, Ohio State Athletics Communications
When Othello Hunter transferred to Ohio State, he expected great things to happen for himself on the court. But in his final season as a Buckeye, Hunter says the things he will treasure most from Ohio State will be the two best friends he got out of his time in Columbus.
Hunter came to Ohio State from Hillsborough Community College in 2006, completing the recruiting class made up of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook and David Lighty. Unlike the other four, Hunter had been playing college ball for two seasons. He and had recorded 18 double-doubles and was named to the NJCAA All-American honorable mention team following his freshman season in 2005-06.
With his transfer, Hunter became part of a two-man class that had known each other since high school Matt Terwilliger and Jamar Butler.
“I would describe my relationship with Matt (Terwilliger) and Jamar (Butler) as the best of friends,” Hunter said. “When I came here I never expected it, but I got two friends for life.”
Terwilliger and Butler were very welcoming to Hunter and even today Hunter and Terwilliger still compete and work with each other in pregame and prepractice workouts.
“Coming here I just wanted to prove that I could play at this level,” Hunter said. “I didn’t want to let these guys down.”
Hunter did not disappoint as he saw a great deal of action in the 2006-07 campaign, including all of the team’s NCAA tournament games. Hunter earned a reputation for being tough inside as he recorded 41 blocks and 175 rebounds. Hunter made eight starts for the first Ohio State team to reach the NCAA championship game since 1962.
This season, Hunter has taken on a different roll as a leader and a motivator to a class of young freshman talent at Ohio State.
“It is a bit strange going from the new guy one season to the senior leader the next,” Hunter said. “But I want to make sure I end my college career with a bang.”
Hunter can really help this season’s freshmen class with the adjustment to the NCAA Division I level because he made the change just a season ago.
“Last season it was hard to believe those guys were 18,” Hunter said. “They were so mature, but the guys this season just need someone to help them out and I’m happy to be that guy.”
Hunter knows the only way his senior season will be a success is if he treats the new guys this season as he was treated a season ago. Hunter knows that sometimes you have to get on your teammates to push them to make them better, but you also have to be their friend because, as he knows, you will always play hard when the guys on the floor are your best friends.
“One of the things I’ll take away from my time at Ohio State is that this team is a family,” Hunter said. “I’m never going to forget that what is here at Ohio State is a family, not just a basketball team.”