According to reports, the Nebraska basketball program suffered a blow on Monday as assistant coach Kenya Hunter has decided to leave Nebraska in order to accept an assistant coaching job at UConn under new head coach Dan Hurley. A source confirmed the news to Hail Varsity.
Hunter has been at Nebraska for the past five seasons after joining Tim Miles' staff in 2013. He has worked with both post players and wings during his time in Lincoln and has been heavily involved in recruiting.
The Huskers have signed four players in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 classes that were ranked in the top-150 nationally according to 247Sports' consensus rankings, and Hunter was the lead recruiter on many of them. He also helped the Huskers secure commitments from a handful of high-profile transfers during his time in Lincoln.
Before arriving in Lincoln, Hunter spent six years as an assistant to John Thompson III at Georgetown. Prior to that, he spent three years at Xavier under Sean Miller. Other stops for Hunter include North Carolina State and his alma ater, Duquesne.
Hunter's decision leaves Miles with a vacancy on his staff less than two weeks before the first live recruiting period of the spring.
UPDATE, 12:40 p.m.: Quotes below from Hurley and Hunter from the UConn press release.
"Kenya has tremendous experience in some high-level programs. He's very well-respected not only as a strong recruiter, but an extremely knowledgeable coach on the floor. It's great when you can hire a man who you view as a future head coach and Kenya has that kind of ability. I'm very happy to add him to what I believe is an outstanding staff." – Dan Hurley
"I looked at the opportunity that UConn presents for me, working with a staff that I'm very excited about, plus I felt that I needed a change. Obviously, UConn has a great tradition of winning — four national championships and one just four years ago. It's recent, not outdated. You look in that practice facility and at that NBA wall, it's a place where a lot of NBA guys have come through and paved the way. I embrace the challenge of helping Coach Hurley get UConn basketball back to where the people there want it and where it has been." – Kenya Hunter
UPDATE #2, 1:20 p.m.: The statement train keeps rolling with words from Miles and a Nebraska-tailored statement from Hunter.
"Kenya has done an excellent job for Nebraska Basketball. He was great on the floor and a terrific recruiter. I’m grateful for his five years in our program. I have worked very hard to keep Kenya in Nebraska and have improved his job each year. But, I believe in his mind, it was best for him and his family to make this move at this point in his career. Now, he gets an opportunity to develop a new network and new set of contacts in the Northeast. I’m excited to keep moving our program forward and will add another coach who will bring true value to our program." – Tim Miles
"Nebraska captured my heart on my first visit, and it has been a truly amazing place. However, the decision to leave has been a tough one for me and my family. I’ve always embraced new challenges and have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the best coaches in college basketball. This is a challenge and opportunity that I thought I should accept. I want to thank Coach Miles, our coaching staff, players and administration for making this a great place to live for me and my family. I’ve enjoyed being a part of the Nebraska basketball program and wish them continued success." – Kenya Hunter
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.