Brandon Hunter, who played for the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, has died at the age of 42. Ohio University’s head basketball coach Jeff Boals broke the news of Hunter’s death on social media Tuesday night, writing on X (formerly known as Twitter) that it was a “Sad day for Bobcat Nation.”
“Brandon Hunter, Gone way too soon,” he added. “One of the best to ever put on the green and white. #RIP.”
Boals did not provide information about how the former NBA star may have died. Hunter had been a standout basketball player at Withrow University High School before going on to become a Bobcat with Ohio University’s men’s basketball team from 1999-2003, reported The Cincinnati Enquirer.
During his time there, he earned several recognitions for playing the sport including receiving the All-Mid-American Conference Freshman Team honors in 2000 and becoming a three-time All-MAC First Team honoree, added The Cincinnati Enquirer. During his senior year at the university, Hunter led the entire NCAA in rebounding, per Fox News.
Due to his star performance with the Bobcats, Hunter eventually went on to be chosen by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft, with the 56th overall pick. He played one season with the Celtics, where he played 36 games and averaged 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds, per Fox News.
He was then traded to the Orlando Magic, where he averaged 3.1 points and 2.2 rebounds in 31 games during the 2004-2005 season.
“We are terribly saddened to learn of the loss of our former teammate, Brandon Hunter,” the Orlando Magic said in a statement commemorating the basketball star. “We send our deepest condolences to the entire Hunter family.”
The note was signed by the Magic’s owners, the DeVos family, as well as players, coaches and staff of the team.
Former NBA player T.J. Ford, who briefly played with Hunter when he was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks as a free agent in 2005, also reacted to the news on X, saying, “We just spoke last week. “Losing a lot of my friends lately.”
After leaving the NBA, Hunter went on to play basketball in countries including Greece, Italy, Puerto Rico and Turkey before returning to Cincinnati to pursue a career in real estate and local sports management, according to Cincinnati local station WCPO-TV.
“I told myself that once I was done playing, I was going to go to school for real estate and get my license no matter where I was,” Hunter told the news outlet in a profile honoring him during his induction into the Withrow Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017. Despite this, he added that he was never fully able to stray from his passion of basketball.
“I initially wanted to go into coaching. But with my background and everything that I learned about the collective bargaining agreement in the NBA and the transactions I’ve seen while living abroad, the understanding of how teams recruit and how different styles are in different countries, I decided to go into management. I thought it would be where I would blossom and be the best,” he said.
Hunter was inducted into Ohio University’s Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame last year, per The Cincinnati Enquirer.
According to WCPO-TV, he leaves behind a wife Mary, and two children, Andrew and Tristan.
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