Hunter Hernandez transitions smoothly to college basketball at UC Irvine

Hunter Hernandez transitions smoothly to college basketball at UC Irvine

December 09, 2021

Four-time league champion, Hunter Hernandez, had a successful high school career at Archbishop Mitty High School. She has three CIF Central Coast Section titles under her belt and was named to the 2021 Bay Area News Group’s Fab 25 and the SF Chronicle All-Star Team. Hernandez is now a freshman at UC Irvine and hopes to continue her success on the court with the Anteaters. 

Playing basketball in high school and playing basketball in college is very different as teams are more athletic, quicker and stronger. The pace of the game is the number one thing that Hernandez said is different from high school ball, and thinking and moving during the games and even practices are much faster. Thankfully, high school ball under Coach Sue Phillips has helped prepare Hernandez for college ball tremendously, and she said that Coach Phillips was influential throughout her time in high school and helped instill confidence in herself. 

“Coming in with confidence already is really important just because you don't have to go through that whole ‘shock phase’ and all that,” Hernandez said. “Just [with] the game and everything, [Coach Phillips] provided me with a really broad knowledge and a lot of court awareness, so it hasn't been too big of a transition.”

Hernandez moved to Irvine in the early summer, right after she graduated high school in June. She was able to get to know her coaches and teammates, as well as get into the gym early on and more consistently to prepare for her first season of collegiate basketball. 

She was also able to work out at the Unlimited Potential Basketball training facility, working with Coach Packie Turner and Coach Rūta Savickaité. Hernandez said at UPB she worked on her jumper, ball handling and moves off the bounce. 

Hernandez played in her first collegiate basketball game on November 7th when the Anteaters hosted Westcliff University and won 114-53. Hernandez played 13 minutes and had five points, three assists and two steals. She said she was excited to step back onto a court, especially after going through COVID and now that everything is getting back to normal. 

“It was just everything that I've put in over all these years, especially the last year, has just [paid] off,” Hernandez said. “[I] obviously have a lot more to do, college is only just starting but it was a little bit of relief to know that it's back to normal and I'm where I need to be to get better and continue my growth.”

Hernandez said her goals for the team is to win the Big West Championship and go to the NCAA Tournament. Personally, Hernandez just wants to make an impact on the team. 

“I want to actually get in there [and] play good defense, get rebounds, make my shots, stuff like that. [I want to] get in the flow [and] find myself on the team,” Hernandez said. 

So far Hernandez has been doing just that. In seven games with the Anteaters, she has scored a total of 23 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. 

So far the Anteaters have an overall record of 4-3 and have a 4-1 home record. They hope to continue to improve their home record on Saturday, December 11th when they host the University of San Diego. 




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