Chase Hunter injury: Clemson basketball star's brother Dillon fills in – Greenville News

CLEMSON – It’s all relative for Clemson basketball. 
As junior point guard Chase Hunter has been kicked to the bench by a foot injury, missing the past three games, the Tigers have turned to a more than adequate replacement, a duplicate in many ways, one being in DNA. 
His younger brother, freshman Dillon Hunter, has gotten his foot in the door as a key piece for Clemson. And it’s going to be difficult to send him back out when Chase is healthy enough to play. That could be Saturday (5 p.m., ACC Network) at Florida State. 
Clemson (17-4, 9-1 ACC) beat Georgia Tech, 72-51, Tuesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum and is off to its best start in its nearly 70 years in the league. Chase Hunter leads the Tigers in assists and is the team’s second-leading scorer with 14 points per game. 
Dillon Hunter, though, is coming on strong. In the last three games without Chase, little brother has gone from 12 minutes and 0-for-3 shooting against Wake Forest to 23 minutes and six points against Virginia Tech to 35 minutes, his first college start, and nine points against Georgia Tech. 
“Honestly,” Clemson junior center PJ Hall said, “I would take him over his brother.” 
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It was a joke, of course, and Dillon, sitting alongside, buried his head to hide his smiling embarrassment.  
“He’s a sparkplug right now,” Hall said. “We’re praying for Chase to make sure he gets back. He’s doing everything. But it’s great having Dillon right there. Chase has guided him along the way and it’s a great thing to watch. Really cool to see that dynamic.” 
The Hunters are Atlanta natives. Dillon turned down scholarship offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Florida State, Georgia and hometown Georgia Tech to play at Clemson with his brother. 
“Chase tells me every game to play hard on defense,” Dillon said. “That’s how you’re going to stay in the game.” 
Dillon has moved past fellow freshman Josh Beadle, who started against Virginia Tech but played only three minutes against Georgia Tech. When Chase is able to return, there is a good chance that Clemson coach Brad Brownell keeps both Hunters in there for long stretches with guard Brevin Galloway, forward Hunter Tyson and Hall.  
“(Dillon) did a perfect job (against Georgia Tech),” Galloway said. “I wasn’t really concerned. … We believe in him and that’s the biggest thing.” 
Dillon was charged with four turnovers and that seemed an anomaly. In nine previous ACC games and 102 minutes before Tuesday’s game, he had one turnover and 19 assists. 
“He defended at a really high level. Did a nice job of getting us into our stuff,” Brownell said. “Turnovers, I don’t know if they were all his fault. That’s way more than usual for him. But he wasn’t afraid. We knew he wouldn’t be afraid.” 
Brownell hinted at a starting job for Dillon after the Virginia Tech game. 
“He’s a physical guard,” Brownell said. “I think he’s got a good spirit about him. He’ll fight guys in the low post. He’ll fight over screens. He’s one of those competitive kids. … He takes care of the ball. He always takes care of the ball in practice. We chart all that stuff. Run your team, defend like crazy at the point and get guys who can score shots. And if you’ve got a crease, go attack. He does that.” 
Chase has played the point for Clemson all season, but it he’s more of a natural shooting guard and could slide into that role if his brother joins the lineup. 
Todd Shanesy covers Clemson athletics for the USA TODAY Network.


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