Three days before it begins NCAA tournament play against UMBC, top overall seed Virginia received some bad news regarding a key contributor.
Redshirt freshman forward De’Andre Hunter, who won the ACC Sixth Man of the Year award, will miss the NCAA tournament due to a broken left wrist. Hunter suffered the injury during the ACC tournament, and according to the school he’ll be sidelined for 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on March 19.
To say the least, this is a significant blow for a team with national title hopes to absorb.
Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game, emerging as a highly valuable front court reserve for Tony Bennett. In three ACC tournament games Hunter averaged 10.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game, shooting 52.9 percent from the field.
With Hunter no longer available, fellow reserve Mamadi Diakite is one player who is now of even greater importance for the Cavaliers moving forward. Diakite, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, is averaging 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game this season.