Will Chase Hunter return to Clemson basketball? The latest on his future

The Clemson men’s basketball team has its roster for 2024-25 mostly settled, but the Tigers are still waiting on a decision from one key player.

Veteran guard Chase Hunter, one of the stars of Clemson’s Elite Eight run, announced April 17 he was entering his name in the 2024 NBA Draft pool while maintaining his eligibility to return for a potential sixth season with the Tigers.

Hunter, 23, started all 36 games for Clemson last year as a fifth-year senior and averaged 17.8 points per game on 50% shooting in four NCAA Tournament games, including back-to-back 20-point games in wins over New Mexico and Baylor.

Clemson men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell provided an update on Hunter’s process during a end-of-season news conference Wednesday at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Brownell said he was “optimistic” that Hunter would return for a sixth year, adding that Hunter had worked out for an NBA team earlier this week.

“I’m excited about his future,” Brownell said of Hunter.

Brownell also said that Hunter’s 2024 NCAA Tournament run was the best he’s played in his Clemson career to date.

According to an NCAA memo distributed to schools in February, Hunter, who is currently going through the draft evaluation process, must withdraw his name from the draft by May 29 at 11:59 p.m. in order to be eligible for the 2024-25 season.

That NCAA early entry withdrawal deadline comes after the G League Elite Camp in Chicago (May 10-12) and the more prestigious NBA Draft Combine, also held in Chicago (May 12-19). As of Wednesday, Hunter has not been invited to either of those events, according to publicized invitation lists.

Brownell previously said during a radio interview last month “there’s a chance” Hunter returns for a sixth season at Clemson, citing the guard’s strong connection to the program and the possibility of name, image and likeness (NIL) compensation.

Hunter, who has an infant daughter, has previously said his family will factor into his stay-or-go decision. He joined Clemson as a four-star recruit in the Class of 2019 out of Atlanta and has an extra “COVID year” of eligibility remaining.

Hunter has already used a medical redshirt year of eligibility after playing just nine games as a freshman in 2019-20 before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

He holds career averages of 9.2 points, 2.6 assist and 2.4 rebounds per game during his 133-game Clemson career. But he’s taken his game to another level the past two seasons, peaking with an NCAA all-region team selection in March, and would presumably slide right back in as the Tigers’ starting point guard if he returns.

Clemson, which went 24-12 and finished No. 14 in the final AP Top 25, lost first-team All ACC center PJ Hall to the NBA Draft and starting guard Joe Girard III to graduation. But the Tigers return starting power forward and reigning ACC Most Improved Player Ian Schieffelin and a number of bench players including guard Dillon Hunter, Chase’s younger brother.

Brownell has also signed two veteran transfers, former Boston College guard Jaeden Zackery and former Cincinnati center Viktor Lakhin, and brings in the country’s No. 20 composite recruiting class for 2024.