GSU’s president has some fun with the basketball team

Yeah, can we throw down a tomahawk dunk? (Photo courtesy of Georgia State)

Yeah, but can he throw down a tomahawk dunk? (Photo courtesy of Georgia State)

When Georgia State President Dr. Mark Becker was interviewing Ron Hunter for his school’s basketball coaching job, he asked if Hunter’s previous teams could shoot free throws.

Hunter assured him that his teams were usually good from the line. Becker thought that was good, because the Panthers were one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in Division I last year. Hunter was hired and Becker got to follow up on his coach’s statement by competing in a free-throw contest with the basketball team at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“It was fun to get out there with the guys,” Becker said.

Well, it was fun for most of them.

As the players were warming up Tuesday — Becker just took one warm-up — one of the players asked Hunter what would happen if their president made all 10. Hunter told them they better get their running shoes ready. Those who didn’t beat him would have to run 5 miles on Thursday.

Hunter declined to say how many Becker made. Becker said he made closer to 50 percent than 70 percent, which was what he said he could hit back in the day on the playgrounds in Maryland. But two of the Panthers couldn’t top his mark. Therefore, they will have to run.

But the important part of the exercise was accomplished. Becker got to spend some time with the players, and he liked what he saw, particularly from two players who had to make their last two shots to beat him.

“That’s what you want to see, guys who can make them under pressure,” Becker said.

Hunter said free-throw shooting will likely be the first drill his team executes when regular-season practice starts on Friday. The Panthers hit a meager 59.5 percent of the free throws last year, putting them 334th out of 335 Division I teams.

And no, Becker didn’t make a sucker bet. He didn’t play in high school. He said he did practice for about 30 minutes a few weeks ago, which is the most he has shot in 15 years.

Hunter declined to participate in Tuesday’s contest.

“I refuse to beat him in anything,” Hunter said.  “He signs my check. So, I’m good.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Follow me on twitter @ajcgsu.

22 comments Add your comment


October 11th, 2011
3:08 pm

Glad to see we’re already moving on to basketball! See ya football season!

GSU is in Atlanta

October 11th, 2011
3:09 pm

Let’s hope that the two who didn’t beat Becker aren’t our best players, or else that would be a bad sign.

Thanks for the GSU sport coverage, even those sports outside of football.

Doug Roberson

October 11th, 2011
3:11 pm

Becker said he could tell some of the guys were nervous

GSU is in Atlanta

October 11th, 2011
3:28 pm

Nervous…welcome to playing college sports, they better learn fast how to overcome being nervous


October 11th, 2011
3:38 pm

I wanna see him play football with the football players


October 11th, 2011
3:51 pm

334 out of 335 teams? Had no idea we were that dismal. I’m actually looking forward to this new regime.


October 11th, 2011
4:45 pm

2 of our players shoot worse than someone who has never played collegiate basketball.


Doug Roberson

October 11th, 2011
5:52 pm

Dude, chill. I’d be nervous too.


October 11th, 2011
8:11 pm

Doug, I know you are busy. But, could you attend a few of the basketball practices and let us know what you see?


October 12th, 2011
2:35 am

Now I understand why we lost so many close games down the stretch the past few seasons. I knew the free throw shooting was bad, but not that bad. That is atrocious. Nowhere to go but up from there.


October 12th, 2011
11:28 am

This is a fun story, thanks for posting it. I am not a GSU follower, but it is nice to read stories like this. Good idea from the school president and coach. Nice to know they can still have fun, it’s not all business at that level.

Biff Pocoroba

October 12th, 2011
12:17 pm

With Paul Hewitt “coaching” in the conference now, GSU won’t be last in free throw percentage or academics anymore.


October 12th, 2011
1:16 pm

Biff, take that back to the Brian Gregory is God blog!

October 12th, 2011
1:52 pm

Feel-good story that doesn’t feel too good. Our guys were shooting 1,000 shots a day all summer, and 2 of them can’t sink 6/10 free throws?


October 12th, 2011
2:44 pm

Thanks for the story Doug. I have a feeling Hunter is about to start something special!!! Go Panthers!


October 12th, 2011
3:06 pm

Doug, Javonte’ Maynor from South Gwinnett is not listed on this year’s roster. Did he leave the program? If so, where did he go?


October 12th, 2011
4:53 pm

Mayor and Jordan DeMercy are no longer with the program after violating team rules.

The team has added a total of three walk ons this Fall. All three are from Metro Atlanta.


October 12th, 2011
4:54 pm


Blasted AutoCorrect!


October 12th, 2011
9:29 pm

Great story and an illustration as to why I love our President. Right man in charge.


October 13th, 2011
8:10 am

Oh sweet, more players getting kicked off athletics teams. Turning into the norm around here…

[...] Note: Hunter said that everything in practice is a competition, including free-throw shooting. [...]

[...] Panther Men’s Basketball kicks off practice tomorrow, but it has not been such a great start for two unnamed players who were beat by GSU President Mark Becker in a free throw shooting contest. [...]