Four-star Tindley High School (Ind.) guard Eric Hunter Jr., who was one of Minnesota’s top remaining targets, cancelled his upcoming visit with the Gophers this weekend and committed to Purdue on Monday.
Hunter tweeted a video of his commitment to the Boilermakers on Monday night. His decision to not make his scheduled official trip to Minnesota was first reported by GopherIllustrated.com earlier in the afternoon.
The 6-foot-3 Indianapolis combo guard had already taken official visits to Purdue and Ohio State. They were reportedly his top two schools, but the Buckeyes landed two 2018 guards last week. Recruiting projections already had Hunter picking Purdue.
The Gophers’ two main targets remaining for their last scholarship are four-star Oak Hill Academy (Va.) wing Keyontae Johnson and three-star South Kent School (N.Y.) point guard Anthony Nelson. But neither player has scheduled an official visit with Minnesota yet.
The 6-5 Johnson, who has a 41-inch vertical, officially visited Wichita State on Sept. 15 and is expected to make a trip to Georgia Tech on Oct. 6. Nelson visited Dayton last week and will reportedly make official trips to Seton Hall this weekend and Clemson on Oct. 6.
There's speculation that point guards being recruited in 2018, including Hunter were worried about playing time with current freshman Isaiah Washington likely to be Gophers floor leader for years to come. Washington tweeted a photo of himself, senior guard Nate Mason and junior guard Jarvis Johnson. Mason will be gone next season. Johnson is still not medically cleared to play because of a heart condition (and is not likely to in his career as of now).
So the Gophers are still looking to add more ball-handling depth either in the 2018 or 2019 classes to join Washington and fellow freshman Jamir Harris.
Regardless of what happens next with Richard Pitino’s 2018 recruiting, the three-member class of Cretin-Derham Hall center Daniel Oturu, DeLaSalle shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur and Orono forward Jarvis Thomas is already the highest ranked under Pitino. It’s also the most Minnesotans in one Gophers recruiting class since 2009.
247Sports.com's ranks the U’s class No. 12 in the nation and No. 6 in the Big Ten. Previously, the Gophers’ best class under Pitino was 33rd nationally when Amir Coffey, Eric Curry and Michael Hurt signed in 2016.