Hunter not looking for moral victories

New Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter wants nothing less than three wins in its season-opening road trip, which begins with Saturday’s game against Washington in Seattle.

“I don’t believe in moral victories,” he said. “If there’s one guy that has any doubt, then don’t go on this trip.”

The goal may seem high considering the team is still learning Hunter’s up-tempo offensive and defensive systems,which are different than what they played under former coach Rod Barnes. However, the Panthers showed potential in two exhibition victories over outmatched opponents Southern Poly and Oglethorpe. They outscored the two opponents by 66 points. That they have scored 90 points twice in two games shows the difference between Hunter’s style and Barnes’. The Panthers scored at least 80 points just eight times in his four seasons.

But scoring so many points against the Division III Stormy Petrels is different than playing the Huskies, who are a contender to win the Pac-12. That will be followed by games against Portland and Florida Atlantic, which are also contenders in their conferences, and should give Hunter and his staff a good idea against a better level of opponents as to  what are the next lessons that should be taught.

The chance of a poor start is worth the risk, Hunter said, because he wants the team to be playing its best basketball at the end of the season when NCAA tournament berths are at stake.

“I want us to get to the point where we aren’t worried about wins and losses,” he said.

Hunter has already learned a few things. He likes that the team is playing hard for him, particularly in the second half of both wins. Instead of sitting back and nursing leads, the Panthers have pushed to extend the margins. He attributes some of that to defensive adjustments made at halftime.

“My teams have always been that way,” he said. “Our defense is based upon matchups so we feel you out. We counterpunch early and then make adjustments.”

While Hunter has gotten an idea of the team’s energy level and determination, he hasn’t figured out the rotations. Before the season, he said he probably wouldn’t use more than eight players.  He played nine against Oglethorpe. He said 80 percent of the team has picked up what he’s teaching, while 20 percent, and he said that group are players he was counting on during the offseason, are still learning.

Two seniors who have made progress, guard James Fields and forward Brandon McGee, have been particularly impressive, Hunter said. McGee is averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while Fields is averaging 8 points and 4.5 rebounds.

“[Fields] is a kid who I’m doing everything I can not to start,” he said.

22 comments Add your comment

FIRE CURRY

November 10th, 2011
2:53 pm

FIRE BILL CURRY NOW

November 10th, 2011
3:12 pm

gsu01

November 10th, 2011
5:17 pm

To the cowards above, go follow another program please. We’ll be just fine without you.

Thanks for the coverage Doug! I’m pretty pumped about Coach Hunter and his squad! The energy around that program right now is amazing!

Who Cares?

November 10th, 2011
6:28 pm

energy around that program?? How much energy can 12 fans generate?

GStateBen

November 10th, 2011
9:11 pm

Boom. That is the word you are looking for. No one calls him James. Boom is his nickname. That is what Hunter said there.

Panther4Life

November 10th, 2011
9:19 pm

@WhoCares, Obviously you do since you bothered to post on here. Feel free to come to the sports arena there were more than 1.100 folks at the first game.
Peace

Go Panthers!

November 10th, 2011
10:31 pm

I hope Hunter ushers in a new era for GSU basketball. Feeling pretty optimistic! Work hard for us, guys!

Itsmeagain

November 10th, 2011
10:34 pm

@panther4life,

More than 1100 at an exhibition game. It makes a big different.

I have high hopes for this Panthers basketball team. I case you haven’t realized, Georgia State isn’t accepting just having an athletics program, they’re looking for championships and won’t stop until it happens.

zamboni_racer

November 10th, 2011
10:47 pm

Go panthers! Wow, 1100 at an exhibition game, thats great. Maybe I’ll attend the next home game.

FIRE CURRY

November 11th, 2011
12:22 am

1100 fans at the basketball game or 1100 fans at the football game?

Probably both are accurate.

FIRE CURRY

November 11th, 2011
12:23 am

“Georgia State isn’t accepting just having an athletics program, they’re looking for championships and won’t stop until it happens.”

Have you watched our football team recently?

Itsmeagain

November 11th, 2011
12:48 am

First, you forgot a zero on the football attendance. Second, why yes I have seen the football team. Do you think the the athletic department is happy with it? Do you think if this co tinies to happen for another year theyll say “oh it’s ok”? Of course not. The football team needs to start producing otherwise heads will roll. It happened with the old basketball coach and it’s not beyond happening with Curry. That being said, I’m willing to I’ve him another season and so are they.

Itsmeagain

November 11th, 2011
2:25 am

*im willing to give him another season, not ive

Panther4Life

November 11th, 2011
8:42 am

@Zamboni… Yeah it was a lot of fun. Next home game is a week from today. Should be a lot of fun. Hunter is a very different coach than Barnes. You can see he is totally about winning and coaching. He’s going to do well at state and we will see a big difference sooner rather tha later.

GSU TRUE

November 11th, 2011
9:17 am

Hunter has set in motion on and off the court a new great era @ GSU in basketball! Since I know most of the players, it is great to see them play as basketball should be played and they are enjoying it! The students like Hunter, he speaks to classes about how important they are to the team! Come and see on Nov 18! Maybe if the alums would cheer instead of sit around and complain it would help the university at all sporting events! It does not take much energy to complain and point fingers! Why don’t you set an example of encouraging and cheering instead of complaining!

GSU TRUE

November 11th, 2011
9:26 am

FIRE CURRY time for you to go back to Tech where your kind of anger and lack of reality lives! There is no place for you at GSU, either in the stands or on campus! You don ‘t know the players, or what is happening on campus! Find a job that might keep you busy complaining about those you work with or you family and friends! Curry is perfect for us to start a program! We still have a lot to do with football and you need to move on! I suggest careerbuilder.com!

Who Cares?

November 11th, 2011
11:10 am

What’s up with all the handles trying to indicate they are the biggest fan out there? But at the same time they turn around and bash other fans for having differing opinions. Talk about a fan base divided. As a casual reader, you guys just make your program as a whole look weaker.

And – an article about the basketball season turns into the State crowd that is drinking the kool-aid bashing the other State crowd that doesn’t blindly follow the other crowd…..wow….

PantherRyan

November 11th, 2011
11:36 am

Just ignore the Fire Curry troll, he is not a fan of GSU sports and the typical AJC commenter troll that pollutes all blogs here. Not sure why the AJC continues to allow it. They do not offer any sort of valid arguments or engage in any civil discussion to defend their point of view. They just drive the comments off topic.

I am very excited about this basketball team, and I will be there on 11/18 to show my support. I urge all alumni and football season ticket holders to do the same. This is a very exciting brand of basketball and you will have a great time.

Who Cares?

November 11th, 2011
11:40 am

I see your lips moving but all I hear is blah blah blah, have some more kool-aid.

Itsmeagain

November 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

@who cares

Learn to read?

FIRE BILL CURRY NOW

November 11th, 2011
2:33 pm

BILL CURRY NEEDS TO BE FIRED! ARGUMENT = 2-10 SEASON. WE’RE GOING TO LOSE TO WEST ALABAMA AND CAMPBELL!!!!!!!!!!! HIRE JOE PAAAAAAA!!!

itsmeagain

November 11th, 2011
3:15 pm

GOOD IDEA
Oh wait no thats a terrible idea