Vista Ridge alumnus Hunter Maldonado declares for NBA Draft, excited for next opportunity

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 11:38 PM MDT
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LARAMIE, Wyo. (KKTV) - Wyoming standout Hunter Maldonado never backs down from a challenge, especially one he’s prepared for his whole life.

Maldonado recently announced he’s declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, while still maintaining eligibility at his current home in Wyoming. “Maldo” ended his senior year averaging 18.5 points per game and became the Cowboys record holder for assists in a single season. Thanks to his efforts, Wyoming finished their season 25-9 and booked a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“For a good stretch there after COVID, it was game after game after game...having an NBA type schedule, basically playing every two days,” Maldonado recalled about the season. “It was tough, on the body, on the mind. But I think it was definitely fun and something I’ll remember looking back.”

Overcoming adversity was also a staple for Maldonado at Vista Ridge High School. After a lackluster couple of early seasons with the Wolves, Maldonado led his high school to the program’s first Final Four appearance. He says that mental toughness is something he still carries with him today.

““It was always being able to fight through the adversity,” Maldonado says. “Give it everything I have every single day, and to be able come out the other side.”

The offseason work begins for the 6-foot-7 guard, who has all the intangibles necessary to get looks from NBA scouts. Maldonado says workouts in front of pro teams will begin in late April and early May. Scouts will give him feedback and give Maldo an indication if he’ll be one of those 60 draft picks in June. If Maldonado makes it far in that evaluation process, he’ll likely hire an agent and fully commit to the pro grind. But Maldonado also says he’s happy returning to Laramie for one final year at Wyoming.

“Either route is going to be a good route for me. Because you’re in the NBA or you’re playing basketball for free.”

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 23, 2022.

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