Penn graduate aids La Salle win over Quakers

La Salle forward Garvin Hunt, a graduate student, saw just five minutes of playing time Saturday against Penn, but it was five minutes that meant an awful lot to him.

Hunt received his degree in architecture last May from Penn. He played for the Quakers in the 2008-09 season as a freshman and saw action in six games, but decided to leave the team after that year to focus on his studies.

He transferred to La Salle, where he is seeking a Masters degree in business administration, and was allowed to play immediately this season after being welcomed by coach John Giannini. Saturday was his eighth appearance on the court in La Salle’s 13 games, but one that held significant meaning.

“It was the first game I asked coach G about when I decided to come here,” Hunt said. “I asked him when this game was. I was trying to get ready for this game ever since the summer, really. I haven’t been getting a lot of time but we’ve been winning and that’s all that counts. … This was a good experience to be part of the Big Five again and play my rival school.”

Hunt grabbed three offensive rebounds during his time in the game, and put back one for his only basket and only points.

“He just played his heart out,” Giannini said.

“When you play against your alma mater, that’s a very unusual thing, and he loves Penn. He chose to stay at Penn and get his degree. So it’s just emotional I would think to play against your alma mater. I think it would be for anyone. It was unusual and he did a nice job.”

Giannini said Hunt is at La Salle “because he belongs as a basketball player but more importantly, he’s a great kid. We had a lot coming back but the most important thing with anyone we were going to add was going to be chemistry, someone who could accept the role, compete, be a great person, be a great teammate, be a hard worker, and Garvin has done all that.

“It was great to see him play well today. I’m very happy for him.”

--Joe Juliano