Sydnee Hunt gazed around at the small room where so many had gathered to support her.
Her parents, flanking her at the table, plus friends and teammates, were here for the big day. The relatively small gathering at Bonneville High belied the magnitude of the moment. Hunt grinned.
The senior was finally signing to play college basketball. She was about to become a Spokane Falls Community College signee.
Hunt thought about the road trips, the practices, the conversations with her parents over the last several years. How they had supported her at every turn, whether attending her games at Bonneville or driving her to one hours away.
“All those memories just flooded back,” Hunt said on Friday afternoon. “Obviously it was emotional, but it was really cool, because we made it to this point to get there.”
The process wasn’t a breeze for Hunt, which isn’t a bad problem. She said she had offers from a handful of schools, including four-year programs like Carroll College in Montana, Whitworth in Spokane, and Linfield in McMinnville, Oregon, and other junior colleges like Blue Mountain, Treasure Valley and North Idaho.
Hunt estimates that across the entire process, she remained in touch with around 20 schools. The family went on eight visits.
“Saw a lot of different campuses,” Hunt said. “Met a lot of different coaches.”
What sold Hunt on Spokane was the coaching staff. She took a liking toward Jessica Kramer, who in November left her position as an assistant at Whitworth for the head coaching job at Spokane.
“We’re like, wait, we should look into Spokane because we really liked Kramer,” Hunt said. “She was just so persistent and consistent of recruiting me and watching all my games. I think she watched all my games this season. She was just super committed to me, and she was so nice, and she has a really good basketball IQ.”
So Hunt made up her mind. Her new home would be in Spokane, a nine-hour drive from Idaho Falls, though she said she flew for her visit in March.
That was a couple weeks after Hunt wrapped up a decorated high school career.
Hunt’s is a rollercoaster story. In 2019-20, she started for a Bonneville team that ran off a perfect 27-0 season, complete with a 4A state championship. She wasn’t grabbing headlines, but she was making solid contributions on a team stacked with talent — and nine seniors.
All that changed this season. Without those nine elder statesmen to lean on, Hunt had to forge a new path, to find a new identity. She had to become a leader. She knew most of her new teammates in one capacity or another, but meshing with them on the court represented another challenge.
The Bees finished the season 7-17, though Hunt did her part. She posted 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game, making her a standout. Her team didn’t win like it was accustomed to, but it often kept things close enough, which are the kinds of encouraging flashes young programs like these enjoy.
For Hunt, though, those are memories. A new chapter of life awaits.
“I’m so excited to experience somewhere different,” Hunt said. “It’ll be completely new people, completely new environment, and I’m just excited. I feel like I’ve wanted to move on to something new for awhile. So now it’s finally coming up, which is terrifying — but exciting.”