R.J. Hunter went from the gut-wrenching drama of an NBA draft night, to the monotony of stretches of riding the bench to the exhilaration of a playoff series in less than a year.
The former Georgia State standout finished his rookie season averaging 2.7 points in 8.8 minutes in 36 games.
Hunter was one of the guest speakers for an NBA Fit stop at Cascade Elementary School on Thursday. NBA Fit is a campaign whose goal is to help young people learn the benefits of exercise and a proper diet. (Videos of his visit are above and below)
Q: What are you working on this summer?
A: Ball-handling is the main focus. I had a few conversation with Danny (Ainge) and Brad (Stevens) before I left about long-term goals. I’m just trying to get my body as ready as I can for that 2 (shooting guard) position and get that ball-handling right.
Q: You look a lot stronger; your shoulders looks bigger.
A: Thanks. It takes time, too. I always worked hard in the weight room but you can’t really fight Mother Nature.
Q: With Boston having a lot of draft picks (eight) and a deep team, are you worried about being traded this summer?
A: In the NBA, that’s always going to be a concern. All I can do is worry about the moment I’m in. Boston is perfect for me. Seeing all the guys at my position do what they do, it’s a good position.
Draft night, that will be crazy regardless of where you are at. I just always have to stay ready in what I do.
Q: How would you describe last year? Fun, frustrating?
A: It was every emotion you could think of. You are going through so much. You got lost in a lot of stuff and then you realize you are doing it as your dream. Once I got used to a routine and realized what I was doing it made a lot of things smoother.
Q: Coming off the bench with some DNPs and some 3-5 minutes, how did that affect your acclimation to the pro game?
A: I think it matured me more than it worried about my transition. I’ve always played so I had to kind of see the game from another angle. I have a better appreciation for team ball, for winning and for just being on the court.
I remember at the end I just wanted to be on the court to be a part of a win.
It was humbling.
Q: This being your dream, how was it? What was the best part?
A: You can’t put it into words. It’s an unbelievable feeling. The best part was probably seeing all the guys I grew up watching up close. Competing against them … you have to kind of check yourself back into reality.
Q: What was your best moment?
A: Best moment, the game 3 win in Boston. I’ve never played in anything like Boston. It was nuts. If you had seen it, you would have been like, ‘what’s going on?’
I thought they were going to riot.
I played pretty well that game too, so that was my best moment.
Q: Just a little bit more intense than the Sports Arena then?
A: Just a little bit more. It was nuts.
A: I did get that car and put some work into it. I got the Mercedes truck and put a wrap on it and some different rims. My accountant, manager and mom weren’t happy about it, but she always told me not to settle.
Q: You are in summer school also. How far are you from graduating?
A: About 18 hours. I’m trying to knock it out in increments so I don’t have to worry about being 45 in the class room.