South Medford’s Donovyn Hunter dominating on the court, despite early injuries

MEDFORD, Ore. – The South Medford girls basketball program has sent dozens of student athletes off to colleges over the years.

Now, another player, who got several offers from D1 schools, will go to the next level.

“When I felt the top of my leg go one way and the bottom half go the other, I was like what was that feeling, what was it.”

It was something South Medford point guard Donovyn Hunter had never felt before.

In 8th grade, she tore her ACL and Meniscus while playing travel basketball in Seattle, forcing her to miss her entire freshman year in 2019.

“I travel 9 hours to 10 hours for practices and it was 12 hours total that weekend,” Hunter said. “So it was the last five minutes of my 12 hours that I hurt myself.”

After rehabbing, she came back for her sophomore season, but played just three months before she injured her meniscus again, leaving her out another 9 months.

After the pandemic hit, she wasn’t able to play a full season until her junior year.

“It was sad obviously, because I wanted to play,” Hunter said. “But I was able to see kind of what i wanted to do when i came in for the rest of my three years and what I wanted to help my teammates with and being more vocal with my team. So it helped a lot.”

It didn’t take long after working back from her injuries for colleges to take notice of hunter’s talents once again. Soon, she will be headed to a Division 1 school, not far from home.

“To see her come back to really not only heal her leg but to have a confidence to rise to being one of the top players in the country says a lot about her mental toughness,” South Medford girls basketball head coach Tom Cole said.

In May, she verbally committed to Oregon Stat, she signed her letter of intent in November.

Now, healthy, and back on the court, Hunter dominated.

Averaging 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists a game last season.

Although Hunter will play point guard at OSU, Cole said its her versatility that sets her apart.

“She’s playing wing, she’s playing forward,” Cole said. “And she’s like a swiss army knife, she can do a lot of different things.”

Hunter is listed as a four star recruit and is regarded as one of the best high school players in the state.

After taking an unofficial visit to Corvallis in sixth grade, OSU was always atop her list.

But, having missed almost two years, doubts crept in, on if that was even possible.

“My mind wasn’t even thinking of schools, it was more like will I even make it to the next level,” Hunter said. “Oregon state, it really was easy, which took my a while to commit, because it shouldn’t be this easy.”

The Panthers are currently 13-2 this season and are hoping to win their second state title in the last three years, this spring.

NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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