With just over 11 minutes to play in the game, Ohio’s senior guard, Jaylin Hunter, swiped the ball from the hands of Detroit Mercy’s Marcus Tankersly and then rushed down the court to slam down a dunk for his 12th point of the game.
For Ohio, the dunk extended its lead and electrified a raucous crowd in The Convo, but for Hunter, the basket counted for his 1,000th career point, a feat that is rarely seen in the NCAA.
“Honestly, it didn’t hit me till I looked up at the jumbotron, and it said I had 1,000 points,” Hunter said. “But honestly, the first thing that went into my mind was how thankful I am for my teammates transferring to Ohio and just meeting such a great group of guys and coaches.”
Hunter would end the game with 14 points, leading the Ohio offense to a 71-52 victory over Detroit Mercy for the team's second win of the season.
As much as Boals and the Ohio fanbase wished to have seen Hunter for all 1,002 points of his career, Hunter is still a relatively new face on the team. Prior to the 2022-23 season, Hunter transferred to Ohio out of Old Dominion, where he was just as dominant. Since arriving at Ohio, Hunter has been not only one of the team's leading scorers but also a leader for a relatively young Ohio roster.
“He’s really grown mentally. Coming in last year, we brought nine new players in; it was up and down for him (Hunter),” Boals said. “Just the culture; what we did, how we do things, having a next-play mentality, being a leader. Last year, in the second week of January, he was a big reason why we went on a six-game winning streak. He played well towards the end of the year. He’s really stepped up his leadership qualities; he just had a great summer. I’m glad he’s here ... I love him as a person and I hope that this catapults him into a good stretch here.”
Hunter did not only impact the team by scoring; the 6-foot-tall guard also led the team with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. The Bobcats have struggled to rebound all season, but against Detroit Mercy, the team was able to outrebound its opponent for the first time. Hunter’s 10 rebounds and 14 points count for the Bobcats' first double-double of the season.
“We knew coming in the way that they guarded you, the extra pass was going to be big,” Boals said. “I thought that we did a really good job; we had 17 assists on 25 baskets…I was very pleased with how we shared the ball and made the extra pass; it was a big part of the win.”
All season long, Hunter has been able to impact the team in more ways than one. Hunter entered Saturday’s game with a team-leading 11 assists along with three steals, which puts him second on the team.
“Just preparing before the game, knowing some of the looks and what they’re good at doing on defense and what they're not that good at doing on defense,” Hunter said. “Then obviously, having guys like AJ Clayton and others just making shots for me, they have to make them for it to be an assist, so I’m thankful for them.”
This is likely to be the final season that we see Hunter in an Ohio uniform. Though this will be only his second season with the team, Hunter will go down as one of the most impactful Ohio players of his era.