Barrett Hunter’s unique journey at Tulsa culminates at NCAA tournament

Barrett Hunter never thought he’d end up back at Tulsa, let alone the NCAA tournament.

After a stellar four-year varsity career at Langley and appearing in 13 games as freshman at Tulsa, Hunter transferred to Roanoke for a season. But Hunter soon realized he missed the Midwest, leading him to transfer back to Tulsa, where he rejoined the team this season for its run to the Conference USA title and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

Hunter recounted his unique college journey with Recruiting Insider, touching on how Coach Danny Manning discovered him in the gym and his political aspirations.

Barrett Hunter was a standout on Langley's 2008 state tournament team. Barrett Hunter was a standout on Langley’s 2008 state tournament team.

Recruiting Insider: You’ve had an interesting road during college to reach this point. What has it been like?
Hunter: It’s still pretty surreal right now to have it all culminate at the NCAA tournament after all the hard work and some of the tougher times in college. When I went to Tulsa as a freshman, like most kids, I didn’t realize the type of transition that can go into going from high school to college, so after a year, I was ready to be a little closer to home and I transferred to Roanoke. But in the year away from Tulsa, I realized how much I liked and missed it, so I came back.
I hadn’t planned on continuing my playing career, but one day I was shooting in the gym and Coach Manning saw me and asked if I had thought about playing for the team. Things got rolling from there and he offered me a preferred walk-on position, which was great. Because I transferred from Roanoke, I had to sit out last year. I could practice with the team but I couldn’t travel and couldn’t dress for home games. This year has been great, suiting up and being a part of the team.

RI: What do you feel like the last four years have taught you about yourself as a person and a basketball player?
BH: Playing at this level definitely humbles you. It makes you realize how many great athletes there are and it changes your work ethic. I felt like I was a hard-working high school player, but when you get to this level, you realize there’s so much more you have to do to be successful.

RI: What was your best memory in high school at Langley?
BH: My junior year in 2008 we made a run to the regional final and the state quarterfinals, where we lost to Bethel. That was the last year they played the region final at George Mason, so it was cool to be the last team to enjoy that. And we set a school record for wins with 24. It was a great run.

RI: What’s been your best moment so far in college?
BH: Definitely being able to raise that Conference USA championship trophy. After we won, me and another senior got to raise the trophy together at center court, so that was a cool moment.

RI: What’s it going to take for you guys to knock off UCLA and make a tournament run?
BH: We’ve got to continue to be strong defensively, because that’s where we’ve made our mark all season. UCLA is a talented team that runs some great sets, but we’ll be ready.

RI: I saw in your bio that your craziest ambition is to run for Congress. Do you plan to get involved in politics after college?
BH: Yes, I plan to go to Tulsa law school after I graduate because I’m really interested in politics.

RI: Do you watch House of Cards on Netflix?
BH: Oh yeah, I’m a big fan. I haven’t seen quite that side of politics yet and I try to be optimistic about the business of politics. My dad was a politician and was the secretary of state in Oklahoma for eight years and he’s always helped me stay optimistic with politics and his approach.

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Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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