Spain Park’s Tori Hunter signs with DI school

Published 4:11 pm Friday, November 16, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – It’s been an interesting season for Spain Park’s Tori Hunter, who has yet to see the floor in 2018 thanks to an ACL injury during the summer, but on Friday, Nov. 16, the start that has averaged a double-double at the high school level got to celebrate a special moment.

With her parents and teammates in attendance, Hunter signed her letter of intent to attend Western Kentucky University where she’ll join the Hilltoppers women’s basketball team under head coach Greg Collins.

“Hilltopper Nation is going to love Tori,” Collins stated in a press release on Thursday. “She is a smart, strong, hard-working, 6-4 post player who has not even begun to realize how great she’s going to become. I’ve been watching Tori for a couple years and she reminds me of other post players I’ve coached that became impact players on both ends of the floor.”

Hunter spent the last few years at rival Hoover High School where she averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks last year.

Despite being new on the scene at Spain Park, head coach Mike Chase knows this is a special day regardless of not having suited up for his team yet.

“A scholarship is about everybody. It’s about the kid, the sacrifice of the parents, all of the different coaches they have come up through, all of those types of things,” Chase said. “I know we have had very little to do with her to this point, but we couldn’t be more excited.”

And Chase wasn’t excited about her just because of the talent level she brings and how deserving she is of taking that next step, but more so because of the type of person he has seen over the last several months.

During this past June, Chase saw how much help she brought to the team on the basketball court with her first workouts with the team and summer competition, but a month later, the rising senior tore her ACL.

Chase didn’t know what that meant for Hunter moving forward.

“I thought when she tore her ACL in July, the next basketball she would play would be at Western Kentucky, but that was never even a thought,” Chase said. “It was like ‘Here’s my timeline and here’s what I’m going to do.’ To me that speaks way more to who she is than being able to make a jump shot, shoot free throws or block a shot.”

He said that was what impressed him most in the short time of having her on the team.

“The time we had in June before she hurt herself in July was great but what was more impressive was the individual motivation for her to want to get back,” Chase said. “She’s over there doing bridges, lunges, stretching and icing without being told.”

Now, Hunter will not only try to suit up for the Jaguars to help them chase a second consecutive state championship, but she’ll also be going to play Division I basketball next season at the same school where her father played, and Chase knows she’ll be a star.

“There is no doubt how successful she is going to be when she gets to Western Kentucky,” Chase said.