Hunter ready to lead Lions

When it comes to coaching, the College’s new interim men’s basketball head coach Matt Hunter has always been ready to devote himself to learning.

“You have to be like a sponge,” he said.

Hunter was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and moved with his family to Plainsboro, N.J., shortly after.

He emerged as a multi-sport athlete participating in baseball and basketball at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School.

His basketball career continued at Salisbury University, where he served as team captain from 2003-2005 and began to take interest in coaching.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be an NBA player,” Hunter said.

Hunter learned the fine points of coaching from his Salisbury head coach Steve Holmes. Hunter also began attending various camps and clinics to fine tune his coaching abilities.

After graduating in 2005, Hunter didn’t hesitate to start his coaching career as he became the College’s assistant basketball coach.

Hunter continued to develop his coaching prowess, serving under then-head coach John Castaldo, to whom he attributes much of his knowledge. Ideas he “soaked in” from Castaldo include the concept of “motion” offense and operating with an open or spread-out floor to encourage good distribution with the basketball.

Formations and drills he uses are also taken from his playing years and his years under Castaldo.

“I’ve always loved the game,” Hunter said. “I’ve always loved to compete.”

Hunter was appointed interim head coach following Castaldo’s announcement to resign and accept the position of director of athletics at the College.

At age 24, two years older than some of his players, Hunter feels his transition entails a different focus to his job. He believes his age has a good effect on his relationship with the players especially since he has already been in the system for two years.

Hunter does not plan to change many procedures instilled by Castaldo. Because only two seniors graduated last year, Hunter still has many players returning to work into his system.

Hunter’s practices consist of reinforcing fundamentals and maintaining a high intensity level.

He hopes to enact his plans to put a heavy emphasis on man-to-man basketball.

“We want to be the hardest working team on the floor night-in and night-out. That’s our goal,” Hunter said.

If he can ingrain the values he has practiced in becoming a coach, the men’s basketball team can expect progress similar to the progress Hunter has made in his coaching career.