The new hire of Lindsey Hunter as basketball coach gives the Mississippi Valley State program an instant boost with his name recognition.

Former Jackson State star and NBA player Lindsey Hunter is back in the SWAC.

He has been hired as the new head men’s basketball coach at Mississippi Valley State. Hunter mot recently served as an assistant coach on the University of Buffalo coaching staff during the 2016-17 season. The release from the school didn’t indicate what Hunter had been doing as far as coaching in the two years leading up to his hire.

Hunter was not able to be reached by cell phone on Monday.

He will be formally introduced on May 1 with a press conference in Itta Bena.

MVSU Director of Athletics Dianthia Ford-Kee said in a release from the school: “I am elated to welcome Coach Lindsey Hunter and his family back to the Oasis of the Mississippi Delta and the SWAC. I am excited about his energy, vision and, most importantly, the impact he will have on our program.”

Hunter is a Mississippi native and was a star at Jackson State before a 17-year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls.

Hunter takes over for Andre Payne, whose contract wasn’t renewed after five seasons. The Delta Devils had a 6-26 record last season, including a 4-14 mark in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Hunter has been an assistant coach in both the NBA and at the college level. He was also interim head coach for the Phoenix Suns for part of the 2012-13 season.

“I look forward to Coach Hunter joining us here at MVSU,” said Dr. Jerryl Briggs, MVSU president in the release. “His wealth of experience as a player and coach is vital and will definitely assist the continued growth for our men’s basketball program. We are surely keeping Valley in Motion!”

Hunter was the 10th pick overall in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played in Detroit from 1993-2000 before spending a year with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.  He won his first NBA title playing for the Lakers in 2001-02.  

Hunter then played for the Toronto Raptors for a year before returning to the Pistons from 2003-08, winning his second NBA title in 2003-04.  He concluded his playing career for the Chicago Bulls from 2008-10.  He played in 937 games over his NBA career and 147 playoff games as he reached the postseason in 12 of his seasons. During his 17-year NBA career, Hunter recorded 7,956 points, 2,021 rebounds, and 2,506 assists.

A native of Utica, Hunter lettered three years at Jackson State, where he averaged 26.7 points per game as a senior and he was named the SWAC  Player of the Year.  

He led Jackson State to an upset of UConn in the 1993 NIT.

Hunter spent his freshman season at Alcorn State University where he was named the 1989 SWAC Freshman of the Year.

Hunter takes over an MVSU program that has made five NCAA Tournament appearances, with the latest coming in 2012.

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