The ranks of Ashland University student-athletes moving on to the next level continues to grow, as former Eagle men's basketball center Michael Hundley has signed a contract to play for the Eastern Mavericks in Australia's Premier League.
"I was very excited," said Hundley, who will leave for Australia at the end of February. "I know all the hard work and dedication, especially over the summers. It was a dream come true.
"I just want to go down there and get my name out there. I just want to start my career and keep moving up and up as far as I can take it."
Said Ashland head coach John Ellenwood, "I'm really excited for Mike. He's worked extremely hard, and he came to Ashland to have the opportunity to play overseas, and it's such a wonderful experience for any of our guys to be able to do that. His hard work has finally paid off."
A member of the 2016 All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Team, Hundley is one of the best, if not the best, shot blockers in Eagle history. He has the program record for single-game blocks (10) and single-season rejections (86), and led Ashland in blocks in each of his three seasons after transferring from The Citadel.
As a senior in 2015-16, Hundley averaged 3.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while hitting 48.0 percent from the field. He authored one of the most unique single-game stat lines in program history in a GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal at Kates Gymnasium on March 1, 2016 – no points, no rebounds and 10 blocks in 21 minutes.
"The second half of last year, Mike Hundley was the best defensive player, in my mind, in the region at least and maybe in the country," Ellenwood said. "Whatever coach gets him down in Australia is going to be extremely pleased with his ability to play defense, and I'm sure Mike has gotten a lot better offensively."
The 2017 Premier League season will begin on April 1, and is part of "Basketball SA," the peak body responsible for the development and promotion of basketball in South Australia. The league's men's and women's sides are a development league for both the National Basketball League's Adelaide 36ers and Women's National Basketball League's Adelaide Lightning.
"Starting in May, I started working out with a trainer. And I started with a basketball trainer, too, in May, all the way to end of December," Hundley said of his post-college regimen. "I did a lot of advertising myself, made a LinkedIn page. I went on the Australian web site. I emailed about 10-20 teams – coaches, general managers. The Mavericks are one of the teams that responded to me.
"It was real hard work off of it (the court), too. Unless you either come from a big-time school or know someone, it's hard to get on a team."
Hundley is following in the footsteps of former Ashland All-American forward Evan Yates, who plays professionally in Israel for Maccabi Rehovot, and has played professionally since 2013-14 in Spain and Denmark.
"I reached out to him in the summertime, and he was a big help," said Hundley. "He gave me agents' information and gave me some advice. He was a big help to me."
While he is preparing for the continuation of his basketball career overseas, Hundley also keeps up with the 2016-17 Eagle men as he can, and still stays in touch with seniors Wendell Davis, Boo Osborne and Adrian Cook.
"We have a group chat where we talk," Hundley said. "I follow them a lot, mostly on Saturday. I watch the games to keep up with them. I still talk to coach Wood."