By Mike HumeHoya Staff Writer

Coming off of a trip to the Sweet 16 last season, the Georgetown basketball team and the campus as a whole received a shock last week when junior Demetrius Hunter announced his decision to transfer to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Due to the transfer, Hunter will have to sit out the 2001-2002 season, because of the transfer will still have two seasons of eligibility remaining with the Running Rebels.

Hunter, last year’s starting shooting guard for the Hoyas, said his decision stemmed from the desire to be closer to his one-year-old daughter, who lives in Hunter’s hometown of Las Vegas.

“I looked at the situation beyond basketball and when I finish playing, this is where I want to live,” Hunter said in an article posted on ESPN.com. “I have made a number of connections here and now I’ll get a chance to play in front of my family.”

The sudden transfer leaves Georgetown with a hole in a starting line-up that included Hunter as starting guard. Now freshmen Tony Bethel or Drew Hall will most likely step up to assume that role, with the possibility of sophomore Gerald Riley also starting at that position.

Despite the tremendous blow to the program, Head Coach Craig Esherick maintains no ill feelings towards Hunter.

“We wish Demetrius all the best,” Esherick said in a press release from April 15. “He’s leaving in good academic standing and although we’ll have to adjust the plans for the team involving him, we understand and support family responsibilities being taken seriously.”

Hunter, who posted an average of 26 minutes and 9.2 points per game last season as a sophomore, was best known for his thundering, highlight-reel dunks. Last year Hunter’s perimeter game improved tremendously, raising his three-point shooting percentage to .389 and shooting .431 from behind the arc in conference play. In his biggest game, Hunter posted a career-high 21-points against rival Syracuse on Feb. 24.

“This is something that I have been thinking about for a while,” Hunter said. “I’ve been on the other side of the country and only got a chance to go home once.”

Frequently playing while injured throughout his collegiate career, Hunter says he will sit out this season as a medical red-shirt and will undergo surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot.

Although the transfer came relatively late in the year Esherick emphasized in the press release that Hunter is “leaving [Georgetown] in good academic standing.”

According to NCAA rules, teams cannot solicit current members of another NCAA team without the permission of the other team. By issuing the release, Georgetown relinquishes its hold on Hunter and will allow him to transfer.

UNLV has no remaining scholarships for this season, so Hunter will have to pay his own tuition. As a resident of Las Vegas, Hunter will be eligible for the in-state tuition rate.

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