Austin-East's Hunter inspired by family, Zaevion

Austin-East star Chris Hunter dedicates his performance to his mother and grandmother, as well as his late cousin, Zaevion Dobson.

Chris Hunter originally wanted to go to college to play basketball.

It was his first love.

However, the Austin-East linebacker made a promise to himself he would commit to the sport that offered him a scholarship first.

That sport was football. The Army Black Knights offered him a scholarship to play in West Point, New York, and Hunter committed early in the 2017 season. He later de-committed, opting to weigh his options from other Division I schools.

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"It's definitely hard having to talk to the coaches and tell them you're going to explore your other options," Hunter said. "It's definitely something you've got to grow up about.

"Really, I just wanted to make sure Army is what I wanted to do," Hunter said. "Having to serve after the four years and being held accountable for a lot of things I'm not held accountable for now, and making sure I wanted to take that step."

Hunter dedicates his performance on the football field and the basketball court to the two main women his life - his mother, Sabrina Robinson, and his grandmother, Louise Fletcher.

"They've sacrificed a lot for me, and I want to give it all back to them," Hunter said. "They're in my corner and they go to bat for me. They're the reason I'm here today."

His mother and grandmother have pushed Hunter to dedicate himself to school. An honor roll student, Hunter boasts a 3.3 GPA and a 28 ACT score.

"My mom and my granny don't really play about that," Hunter said with a smile. "I've had one D before, and it was in 'behavior' when I was in elementary school . My momma and my granny told me if a 'D' ever walked back in this house again, I'd be in big trouble. So I never did that again."

He also lives for his cousin, Zaevion Dobson, who died in December 2015 shielding his friends from gunfire. Dobson and Hunter grew up playing football and video games together; the two were actually supposed to hang out the night of Zaevion's death. Hunter said he was happy to see his family member get justice for his murder.

"Every day, I think about him," Hunter said. "I'm going to push and I'm going to make it for him.

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"Any time I feel like quitting, any time it gets hard, any time it gets rough, any time I face any adversity, I've just got to remember I'm doing it for Zaevion and my family," Hunter said. "I've got to make them proud."

Hunter is leaning towards re-committing to the Black Knights and attending the United States Military Academy.

"It's a blessing," Hunter said of the offer. "It's really surreal."

The beauty of the situation is that Hunter still gets to play basketball, and is doing pretty good at it with the Roadrunners. He's averaging around 20 points per game and 8 rebounds per game.

Austin-East sported a 9-1 record going into Tuesday. Not bad at all.

"We didn't win state in football, so I'm trying to pull us to state in basketball," Hunter said smiling.