He appeared to be the sort of player who could change Virginia’s tournament performance this season, with his improvement to 14.9 points per game and 42.4 percent 3-point shooting. Certainly the Cavaliers have gone farther, and certainly he has helped. Just not as much as expected.“I think everyone goes through little spells where they’re not as aggressive as they should have been. We’ve all been there,” Guy told SN. “I think the good thing about De’Andre is, number one, he’s a very confident player so he’ll be fine. And, number two, he can help by just being on the floor even if he’s not scoring. His presence makes a difference, especially on the defensive end.“It’s the same for me. When I’m just standing in the corner, watching Ty do his thing, they’re not helping off me. So I’m basically getting assist for whatever happens. It’s pretty much the same for De’Andre. People don’t want to help off him if he’s in the elbow area. And if they do, he knows what play to make.” MINNEAPOLIS — De’Andre Hunter has all the qualities the best scouts typically desire in a basketball player: height, length, power, dynamism, a high degree of skill. Through most of the NCAA Tournament, however, about the best they could say of him is that he’s certainly tall.A 6-7 redshirt sophomore from Philadelphia’s Friends’ Central High, Hunter was named third-team All-American by Sporting News, and second-team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. But in the three games Virginia played against high-major opponents to reach the 2019 Final Four — against Oklahoma, Oregon and Purdue — Hunter has averaged 35.3 minutes. And that, indeed, is the most impressive statistic he compiled during that stretch. So that is De’Andre Hunter at the moment: He is out there, and he looks big doing it.SN’s MARCH MADNESS HQLive NCAA bracket | Live scoreboard | Full TV scheduleThe rest? He took 32 shots in those games and missed 20 of them. He averaged 4.0 rebounds and 10.3 points. He collected two steals and three assists. Total. He was 3 of 12 on 3-pointers. The only statistical category in which he compiled big numbers, other than minutes, was personal fouls.Against Purdue in the South Region final last Saturday, Hunter entered overtime with six points on 3-of-8 shooting. It wasn’t until 1:43 remained in the extra period that he made a crucial play, earning two free throws and converting both to put UVA in front by a point. When Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards took back the lead with a jumper, Hunter responded with an overpowering drive that put the Cavaliers ahead for good, and into the Final Four.He is not particularly eager to talk about any of this. “I just wasn’t being aggressive,” Hunter told Sporting News. “That’s about it.”Asked if he had an explanation for why he lacked that aggression, Hunter responded, “Nah.”Asked if he expected Saturday’s game national semifinal game against Auburn to be different, he said, “Yeah.”In a Final Four stripped of a lot of its star power by the defeat of Duke in the East Region final and Gonzaga in the West, Hunter is one of four players here at U.S. Bank Stadium who achieved All-America recognition (along with MSU’s Cassius Winston, Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver and Cavs teammate Kyle Guy). He is one of two whose names appear at the top of mock NBA Draft boards, along with Culver. Sporting News draft analyst Chris Stone projects Hunter to be the No. 6 pick in June’s draft.INSIDE THE MADNESS: 80 years of Final Four memoriesThat was not the sort of player everyone in Louisville saw last weekend. Searching for a way to defend his teammate’s performance in this tournament, Cavalier point guard Ty Jerome told reporters Thursday, “He carried us against Gardner-Webb. Everyone kind of forgets that. He had 23 that game and he played pretty well. … He’s doing a lot of things people aren’t noticing because they see the missed shots.”Gardner-Webb was UVA’s first-round opponent, the 16-seed. Granted, Virginia’s advancement past its first-round opponent could not be assumed after what occurred against UMBC last season. Jerome’s praise seems meager, though, with the Cavaliers having played and won three games since.“He certainly impacts the game with his defense and everything he does,” coach Tony Bennett told reporters. “He made some difficult plays at difficult times, and he’s guarded hard, and his shot wasn’t going in like it was.“So part of this is him learning and growing. But we’re going to need everybody at their best to continue on in this tournament. All good players, they have to be defined by more than is the ball going in the basket. They have to impact the game on the glass, defensively, making plays. That’s what I always encourage him to do.”MORE: Kihei Clark made a Final Four genius of Tony BennettAgainst Auburn, Bennett can match Hunter’s size and reach against Tigers shooting guard Bryce Brown, who has averaged 18.3 points in the tournament and shot 46.9 percent on 3-pointers. Kentucky could not cope with both Brown and point guard Jared Harper at once, and they combined for 50 points in a 77-71 overtime victory.Hunter is one of the few regulars on this Virginia Final Four team not on the court during the UMBC game in 2018. Unable to play because of a broken wrist after he’d been named the ACC Sixth Man of the Year, Hunter had to endure watching that disaster with no way to help beyond shouting some encouragement.