JIMMIE HUNT INTERVIEW AND MIXTAPE
Jimmie Hunt was first featured on Hoop Assist as a king of the Hesi move. We first met as classmates of Mt. Ararat high school in Maine when he was 15, and I a baby-faced 14 year old hoop fanatic. He was by far the most well developed basketball player of that age I’d ever seen to that point – maybe still. He immediately became the star of a team that featured a future University of Maine Black Bear standout Ricky White, as well as several other players who would go on to play in college. He finished his career as one of the greatest players in Maine high school basketball history.
After Mt. Ararat it was onto Franklin Pierce University where he enjoyed a decorated four year career on a basketball scholarship. Jimmie immediately began his professional career after graduating in 2005 and is still competing at a high level overseas to this day. He reached out to Hoop Assist with a fire mixtape stating “Uncle Jimmie still got work for these young chumps.” Indeed Uncle Jimmie does.
Uncle Jimmie still got work for these young chumps.
Hunt is one of the best breakdown artists I’ve ever seen. Watching him cut loose in a one on one or 21 game back in high school is still one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. Check out the filthy In & Out in the following mixtape of his season with BC Levski Sofia in Bulgaria, and other teams throughout Europe. Hoop Assist caught up with Jimmie to pick his brain about the NBA, training techniques, and life as an overseas pro. Check out the interview below.
I just love having total control of the ball and feeling like I can do whatever I want.
We’ve been talking a lot about LeBron’s options in free agency this summer. Where do you think he’s going to end up?
JH: I honestly wouldn’t even know what to guess what LeBron will do. But I do know wherever he does, that team will immediately improve.
Who is your favorite team and player?
JH: My favorite player was always Magic Johnson. I loved how he was able to control the game and be effective in every position.
My favorite team was always the Knicks. Its been a long struggle but I’m from New York and I am a lifelong fan.
When did you first start playing basketball seriously?
JH: I think when I first started playing seriously or considered basketball as what I wanted to really put all my energy into was about the age of 14. I began to understand the game, and understand my body and what I could do. From then on I never looked back.
Jimmie your handle is unbelievable. Do you remember shamming a kid at the top of the key in a game at Mt. Ararat and he spun around and ran all the way to the basket?
JH: Haha I got a couple in my day.
What do you do to work on your ball-handling?
JH: I love ball handling. That’s probably my strength. Before I knew about specific drills to do for improving ball handling I would work on certain moves that I liked or saw someone do. I would repeat it over and over every day until I mastered it. Now we have these two-ball handling drills these days that I love and do now. But I just love having total control of the ball and feeling like I can do whatever I want.
Do you have a shooting routine?
JH: For shooting, I also had that desire to be the best. Mainly because I focused so much on my handle that guys started not guarding me. They would allow me to shoot, so I decided to become a great shooter as well. I learned many different drills which helped to better my shot in different positions. And just as in ball handling, repetition is the key. I do many different drills but just to be specific, I like this routine by Steve Nash that works on great shooting situations and also ball handling.
What has been like playing overseas all these years?
JH: Playing overseas is a huge life change. I always tell players, basketball is not the biggest adjustment you will need to make. But life in general changes, and you need to get accustomed to a complete different way of thinking, culture, traditions, food etc. The first year is the hardest.
As for the basketball part, it can be great and also can be miserable depending on your situation. Some countries put a lot of pressure on you and are extremely prideful. So this at times can be very stressful. And there are also situations where the team does not expect miracles, has great people in the organization, and makes for a good experience. The style of play is different. It’s very team driven. They don’t like to focus on one good player. But to involve everyone. They run a lot of set plays, a lot of screen and rolls. There is no 3 second rule on defense like in the NBA so the defense is very tough, and very aggressive.
Do you have any advice for players that want to play professionally?
JH: My advice to players that want to go to the pro level: First I would say it starts mentally, and early. I believe you should be preparing as a young player with the focus of dedicating yourself, to doing everything on and off the court to get to the professional level. I remember my young days studying and trying to imitate other professional players that I admired. To be a professional is a big sacrifice. But if you really want it, you will be willing to do what it takes.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for us. Final question: When you have to go to the doctor do they say “Sorry Jimmie can’t help ya. Y’too sick wit it.”?
JH: Haaaa. I got you boss. Just getting back from Portugal so I’m getting back settled in.
Check out Jimmie’s player development program called J Hunt For Skills.
Author: Nick Maschino
Hoop Assist Free Online Basketball School creator Nick Maschino has been involved with organized basketball for over 25 years. He holds the records for overall wins and points scored at Schenectady County Community College (NY), and the season record for conference wins at Mercy College. After college he played for and served as an assistant coach of the Albany Legends of the IBA. He currently trains individuals and groups throughout the greater New York City area.