LAS VEGAS – Feron Hunt would like to stay in the Dallas state of mind.
A proud 2018 DeSoto High School graduate, Hunt played college basketball for three years at SMU before declaring himself for the NBA Draft last spring. Now he wouldn’t want anything better than to stay in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex and start his professional career with the Dallas Mavericks.
“It would be really important to me just because I played in all of my big basketball leagues in the state of Texas,” Hunt said after Sunday practice at the Paul McDermott physical education complex. “So being part of the team would be a huge advantage for me.
“I really like (Mavs legend) Dirk Nowitzki, as far as my favorite player is concerned. And yes, I’m a Dallas Mavericks fan.
For now, Hunt is a proud member of the Mavs Summer League team. This team will play their first game in the MGM Resorts Summer League on Monday at 3 p.m. CDT against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Thomas & Mack Center.
A 6-8, 185-pound forward, Hunt has made marked improvements in the five days since the Mavs had their Summer League practices.
“He had a great camp,” said summer league coach Greg St. Jean. “He’s got a living body, he’s an active cutter and he has a high IQ. He’s a really versatile athlete.
“I think his shot just got better and better. There have been some construction changes since university.
These changes have been underway since the Mavs crafted Hunt ahead of last month’s draft.
“He came in and did a draft practice for us, and he shot the ball decently doing that,” said St. Jean. “We will continue to encourage him to be aggressive and to be himself.
“But he will play and be part of our rotation here for the next few days and we are delighted to have him.”
Obviously, Hunt’s goal is to reach the NBA. And he doesn’t regret not being drafted after playing three seasons at SMU.
“No, (declaring for the draft) was not a difficult choice after talking to my mom, my family and my agent,” Hunt said. “We thought it was better for me to go out.”
And now that he’s a free agent, the first order of business for Hunt is to impress the Mavs with high intentions of making their final roster this coming fall.
“We have a great coaching team here. . .and I’m just following what they think is best for me, ”Hunt said. “I’m working on my full game. That’s a lot of catch.
“We’ve only been practicing for a week. It’s a huge transition from college to trying to learn all the settings and be ready to play for the summer league team.
The wise advice that St. John gave Hunt on his journey to the NBA is twofold.
“I think for all of these guys it’s about continuing to work and understanding what your game is, and how that can translate to the next level,” said St. Jean. “Whether it’s the NBA, playing abroad, playing in the G League, whatever it is.
“When you play professional basketball, you try to figure out what your game is at the professional level. Most of the time that’s how you end up on the pitch, and can you play defense and who can you keep? “
Hunt, so far, has impressed St. John with his skills. Still, he wants to throw him some more knowledge.
“For Feron, someone like him, we’re going to continue to challenge him to be aggressive defensively and versatile defensively, and play offensively with himself,” said St. Jean. “He’s someone who’s been doing this the first four days of training so far.
“It’s our fifth day of training, and he did a good job today as well.
At EMS last season, Hunt averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds and shot 56 percent from the field in 28.2 minutes per game. In 78 career games for SMU, he averaged 9.6 points and 6.8 rebounds and converted 55.7% of his field goals in 26.3 minutes per game.
“It’s a great university and it’s kind of where I started to become a man,” Hunt said. “SMU will always hold a special place in my heart.”
So special that Hunt said Texas and Oklahoma were destined to leave the Big 12 Conference and move on to the Southeastern Conference, he wouldn’t mind to see SMU move on to the Big 12. Conference.
“If (SMU) were to go into the Big 12, that would be crazy,” Hunt said. “SMU, they can do it at the basketball level for sure and football. I think they can compete in the Big 12.
“They will always have a winning program and they will always have great kids because it’s in the city of Dallas. So they have a wide variety of players to choose from.
The Mavs also have a variety of players to choose from before reducing their roster to 17 before the start of the 2021-22 season. Hunt just wants to be in this issue.
“He just needs to continue to stick to his strengths and stay away from his weaknesses,” said St. John. “And then we’ll keep working on those when the lights are on.” “