Bobby Hunter’s unusual path to the Redbird men’s basketball team included two All-American stops at smaller colleges in Florida and Oregon.

Now, the junior college transfer is a team captain for Illinois State, one of the most inexperienced programs in NCAA Division I basketball with only 2.5 years of returning Division I experience. And yet the Redbirds finished the season 16-14 and are the No. 5 seed heading into this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament (Arch Madness) in St. Louis.

“The way (Hunter) ended up at Illinois State University is not a common way that you end up becoming a Division 1 basketball player,” said Jeff Spenard, the team’s academic coordinator, who has worked with 10 new Redbirds this season, including Hunter. “He holds himself to a higher standard, and he expects more from himself.”

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