GSU coach Ron Hunter tidbits

Greetings, all

Hope you’re all well. I attended spring practice Monday morning and then went to the Ron Hunter press conference in the afternoon. I have a few notes from the press conference that didn’t make it into the story and I’ll come back Wednesday with some football stuff.

1. Hunter is putting himself out there. He promised the team will win, talked about being in the finals of the CAA tournament next year and guaranteed that no one in the country will work harder than his team. (I’ve heard that before. How do you go about proving that? I guess maybe that’s why people make that guarantee.)

I suppose those are the things you say to get your fan base excited. I don’t doubt he doesn’t believe it, but, as I said, he’s put himself out there. Which isn’t a bad thing.

2. By NCAA rules, Hunter can practice the team until the Final Four, and he was going to work with players Tuesday and perhaps beyond to get a feel for what they can do. He said a few times that everyone is starting over.

3. Hunter said 90 percent of his players at IUPUI were from Indianapolis and 90 percent at Wisconsin-Milwaukee were from Milwaukee. As I mentioned in the story, his hope is that eventually all 15 players on the roster will be from Atlanta. I neglected to ask him about it, but athletic director Cheryl Levick mentioned that he has an “outside-in” strategy that he plans to employ at GSU. My assumption is that he’ll start outside Atlanta or the state to build up the program and then hone in on Atlanta after that.

4. Hunter said he might bring one staff member from IUPUI with him and might hire someone off of Rod Barnes‘ staff but was not committed to either. He said he’ll go to the Final Four (which is attended by practically every Division I coach and plenty more trying to get jobs) to hire.

5. Hunter has a pretty good shot at one member of the 2012 class. His son R.J. is a star at Broad Ripple High in Indianapolis and shares a backcourt with Marquis Teague, the brother of Hawks guard Jeff Teague. Hunter said R.J. is being recruited by Wake Forest, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but I think if I recruit Mom, I might get him,” he said.

Hunter said he’s going to leave the decision on if R.J. will move down to Atlanta for his senior year up to him.

6. Hunter made an interesting point about recruiting Atlanta. Obviously, Georgia and Georgia Tech get first dibs on the best players and plenty of SEC and ACC schools come into the city and state. But there’s only one other mid-major school in metro Atlanta – Kennesaw State – and Georgia State doesn’t really recruit against it. At IUPUI, Hunter said, mid-majors Ball State, Evansville, Valparaiso and Butler were all within an hour.

“There’s no mid-majors,” he said. “We can clean up doing that.”

7. Levick said that the plan is to get GSU president Mark Becker’s approval on the first segment of the basketball facilities plan and start in the spring on putting coaches’ offices and locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball on the third floor by the arena, though I don’t think all the money is in, and they won’t start until it is. The athletic department has different projects in place to renovate the arena, including turning the court 90 degrees, that altogether have a $36.7 million pricetag.

8. I don’t know if this year’s team is the best example of what he does, but I figured a team that presses for 40 minutes would force more turnovers than it does. IUPUI was sixth in the Summit League in steals (5.8 per game) and forced 12.0 turnovers per game, which was ninth in a 10-team league. Opponents shot 47.2 percent from the field, which was ninth.

Further, according to the numbers on the excellent basketball website kenpom.com, IUPUI was 320th in Division I out of 345 teams in adjusted tempo, or average possessions per game. Going back to the 2002-03 season, the highest his team ranked in adjusted tempo was that year, when it was 159th. (That was the year the Jaguars won the Summit tournament and lost to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament in a 1-16 game.)

This year, the Jaguars were 320th, 227th last year, 312th the year before that, 314th the year before that and 280th before that. I could well be missing something, but it’s not the fingerprint of an up-tempo team.

That said, his teams do some things well. His team this year was efficient offensively (They averaged 110.1 points per 100 possessions, 55th in the country), didn’t turn the ball over much and shot free throws well.

They led Ohio State in Columbus 50-41 midway through the second half and gave Oakland, the best team in the Summit, one of its worst losses of the season. And, of course, you go back to the record. He hasn’t been worse than fourth in the Summit since 2003.)

9. My $.02. He talks a good game, is charismatic and enthusiastic. I know he had those at the press conference, which included school administrators, staff, alumni and students, pretty riled up. He has put together a record of consistent winning at IUPUI and Georgia State isn’t the first school that’s had significant interest in him. Further, Levick has had a pretty good record of coaching hires.

I’m not quite as confident as Hunter that he’ll win, but I will hardly be surprised if it happens.

Thanks for reading. Please follow me on Twitter!

22 comments Add your comment

GStateBen

March 22nd, 2011
9:48 am

Good work Ken. Understand that the talent at Hunter’s disposal is a ton greater than what he had at IUPUI. They are honestly a borderline low major and he continued to win there.

This team should be .500 or better in 2011-12 as the CAA loses a ton of upperclassmen.

Welcome Coach Hunter and let’s go!

Panama

March 22nd, 2011
9:58 am

Panama

March 22nd, 2011
10:00 am

Crap Ben!

At any rate, I am feeling better and better about this hire. Having sat near Becker and Levick at BB games, I can tel you they do not take the game lightly. They are far from passive. So I have to believe that winning and winning immediately is their only goal.

GSU Men's BB Fan

March 22nd, 2011
10:00 am

GSU Men's BB Fan

March 22nd, 2011
10:01 am

Dang’it…didn’t refresh the page before I commented.

GSU Men's BB Fan

March 22nd, 2011
10:04 am

Ken,

I’ll pay you $.02 for your $.02. I was originally underwhelmed by the hire. Then I felt better. But now I’m back to being underwhelmed. I’m hoping he wins. I’m tired of losing. CRH’s resume doesn’t give me any reason to take of the sip of the Kool-Aid now. So I’m not drinking the CRH Kool-Aid until I see some wins.

KJones BB

March 22nd, 2011
11:25 am

Ken,

Just to let you know Hunter’s press applies token pressure to slow teams down. If your thinking its a flat out pressure press like Missouri then your wrong..

Montinod

March 22nd, 2011
11:37 am

As usual good stuff Ken. Again, welcome coach Hunter. Give me an uptempo style, shorten the bench, and shoot better from the FT line and we’ll win five more games next year. Let’s get it done!

Itsmeagain

March 22nd, 2011
11:54 am

Somebody on Panthertalk called the court getting turned 90 degrees. That would allow for full bowl seating and a much more professional looking arena. I’m hoping that does happen as I think it will improve the arena significantly

PantherAlum

March 22nd, 2011
12:25 pm

We are all excited about Coach Hunter’s enthusiasm and pray for success moving forward. Go State!

I would hope that someone articulates to Coach Hunter that a myriad of mid-major schools recruit metro Atlanta. His suggestion that metro atlanta is somehow different than Indianapolis is borderline absurd. You mentioned programs like Ball State in the Missouri Valley Conference. FYI: There are MVC, OVC, and SoCon conference programs that only recruit metro Atlanta. They have arenas that are as big and as nice as Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Since so many people affiliated with our campus are pushing this mediocre Kool-Aid, I encourage you guys to fill this man in on reality. He is moving to the most hotly recruited region in America. Any belief that he only needs to beat out Kennesaw State is laughable! :-)

One more thing, we can not give Ron a pass on pressing and up-tempo. Those guys play fast in the bottom-feeding Summit. Look at their games and scores against non-conference NCAA Division I programs in the past decade at IUPUI. Up-tempo is a complete sham and flat out lie. I love the enthusiasm. However, let’s be realistic here!

Ken Sugiura

March 22nd, 2011
12:28 pm

Thanks KJones. I imagine I got the wrong impression. By describing his style of play as full-court press after every basket and up-tempo, taking shots early in the shot clock and “we get after it,” i hope you can understand how I might have misunderstood.
one other thing i meant to mention. he said one thing i’m not sure i’ve heard before – not that I’ve been to several introductory press conferences. while he’s still here before he goes back to indianapolis, he’s going to be by himself, so he’s going to go to his players’ apartments for dinner and have them make him dinner to spend with them and get to know them. i think it says something about who he is and what’s important to him.

Ken Sugiura

March 22nd, 2011
12:34 pm

itsmeagain – it’s in the plans, but it may take awhile. they need to find a few more deep pockets.
good point, pantheralum. i’m sure he’ll figure that out. i guess he’d probably say that there are other schools outside of the ones he mentioned that also recruit indianapolis, like atlanta, but at least in atlanta he gets a break in being one of only two local schools.

PantherAlum

March 22nd, 2011
12:47 pm

Has anyone questioned the process in hiring men’s basketball coaches at Georgia State? Why did Cheryl Levick pass on even speaking to two fo the top mid-major coaches in America at nearby programs (Mike Young – Wofford College: back-to-back SoCon Championship s and NCAA Tournament appearance with a history of rosters loaded with metro Atlanta players OR Donnie Tyndall – Morehead State: NCAA Tournament appearances in 2 of the past 3 seasons along with the 2011 NCAA Tournament upset of the first day leading his program past Big East heavyweight Louisville and Rick Pitino)? Tyndall aggressively lobbied for the job and got no interview against a very mediocre group of head coaches in Hunter and the head-scratcher of the entire process Cliff Warren.

Is race playing a factor in the coaches that are interviewed? If so, this is as sickening as GSU refusing to interview qualified minority candidates. The sad truth is that Charles “Lefty” Driesell would have NEVER even received a return call from Cheryl Levick and her staff. I have often heard of a token African-American candidate. The truth is GSU has a token Caucasian candidate from FSU. Let’s not even address why Mississippi State assistant Phil Cunningham was not brought in for an interview. Coach Cunningham was instrumental in the success that Coach Driesell had. It is a disgrace that he was not even interviewed by this sham called a coaching search.

WHO IS DAN PARKER and why is his incompotent search firm involved in back-to-back men’’s basketball searches????

PantherAlum

March 22nd, 2011
1:10 pm

Ken, I encourage you to review the rosters of a myirad of programs from Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee State, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Wofford, Morehead State, Chattanooga, etc. Some mid-major programs have decades of history recruiting Atlanta. They also have 8,000-12,000 seat facilities that average over 5,000 fans per game. I reiterate Atlanta is the most recruited region in America.

Coach Hunter is displaying real ignorance on the matter when he even suggests that the recruiting situation is similar in Indy or Milwaukee. Is this guy serious or is he stirring the “special” Kool-Aid along with Cheryl Levick?

FYI: Atlanta native Chad Dollar is the associate head coach at Wichita State. Guess where he is getting players at a program that plays in a superior facility to Georgia & Georgia Tech? Dude, Ron Hunter’s wild and grossly inaccurate commentary displays an ignorance that will get him exposed.

You are the media Ken. Tell us why Dan Parker is involved in GSU men’s basketball searches. Is he a quasi-AD? Why didn’t Cheryl Levick interview Donnie Tyndall of Morehead State? Why didn’t GSU even interview proven head coach Mike Young, who has been to two straight NCAA Tournaments and lives hours away from Atlanta?

GSU_Alum

March 22nd, 2011
2:00 pm

Ken, can you give us an insight on the AJC’s thoughts on allocating a full-time staff person (read: you) for all GSU sports for the 2011 year? Was the football blog a success? What measures success in the eyes of the AJC? I hope this blog continues for GSU basketball! Thanks for your insight.

Nick

March 22nd, 2011
5:15 pm

PantherAlum you need a life dude…

Run and Gun

March 22nd, 2011
6:16 pm

GSU could have done a lot better than this no name, who will be using street ball—run the court, jack a three or try to get a dunk. It sounds great, but doesn’t work against good teams. He’ll be fired in 3 years—book it.

Itsmeagain

March 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

I’m with Nick. PantherAlum seems to have two guys in his mind that should have been picked and this wasn’t one of them. Let’s see what happens before we start condemning Our AD and president.

English

March 23rd, 2011
11:35 am

First!!!

Crap! lol

Hunter will be good for us at GSU.

GSUtimes2

March 23rd, 2011
2:58 pm

I’m sticking with Levick. She is an amazing AD in my opinion and I’m confident they considered diversity. C’mon, this is GSU, not Georgia Southern. I think someone mentioned the other day the idea of Gene Chizik at Auburn. I remember the footage on ESPN of Auburn fans lining up to “greet” him with boos.

Although, I will say this. I saw on PTI the other day that Larry Brown was looking to coach college. How cool would it have been to land him?

GState08

March 24th, 2011
2:13 am

So far I’ve impressed with Levick. She seems to be a shrewd, professional athletic director. I’m curious to see how things progress going forward.

GState08

March 24th, 2011
2:13 am

*been impressed