Hawks’ De’Andre Hunter sends message after tragedy strikes alma mater

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks got a statement 121-106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday. Yes, the hosting Bucks were without starting All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. But the Hawks’ ability to get whatever they wanted against a still-stout Milwaukee defense with every starter scoring at least 16 points stood out.

They got a 19-point, 10-rebound effort from Clint Capela as well as a 19-point, eight-rebound, five-assist performance from Dejounte Murray, Trae Young pouring in 21 points with nine assists, and John Collins tallying 16 points and nine boards.

The night, as it turned out, belonged to fourth-year forward De’Andre Hunter who dropped a team-high (and personal season-high) 24 points on 40% shooting and 10 free throws.

But Hunter’s strong night preceded an even stronger message.

De’Andre Hunter sends message on tragedy after Atlanta Hawks win

Three University of Virginia football players – Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry – were killed while two other students were wounded after a former player opened fire upon the group on a charter bus that was returning from a play, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. The two other students’ names were not released.

Authorities apprehended suspected shooter Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. Monday morning.

“So sad man,” Hunter – a UVA alum – posted in an Instagram message after the win over Milwaukee. “Praying for all the families affected by this tragedy.”

Jones has been charged with “three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony”.

Hunter spent three years in Charlottesville, including a redshirt year in 2016-17. He would go on to start 38 games as a redshirt sophomore helping to lead the Cavaliers to a National Championship in 2019.

The Hawks made Hunter the fourth-overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Hunter’s former teammate at UVA and current Golden State Warriors guard Ty Jerome shared the same graphic as Hunter accompanied by broken heart emojis.

Charlottesville is no stranger to tragedy after the city was devastated by incidents back in 2017. That certainly does not make these most recent events any less stunning or heartbreaking for everyone involved.

Hunter’s strong performance against the Bucks may or may not have been inspired in part by the tragic events of the weekend. But it was certainly a continuation of his strong start to the campaign.

He joins Murray and Young as the only Hawks to score at least 10 points in every game this season.

The 6-foot-8 Hunter is currently on pace to tie his career-best 15 points per game while his defense has also bounced back to begin the year with a 110 rating, per Cleaning The Glass.

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Up next for Hunter and the third-seeded Hawks are the top-seeded Boston Celtics meaning the Hawks could notch wins over the top two teams in the East in back-to-back contests further cementing their start as legit.