“Welcome to Hunterville”

Nick Bray (left) and Bryan McNatt welcome you to their humble adobe. Wipe your feet, please.

Nick Bray (left) and Bryan McNatt welcome you to their humble abode. Wipe your feet, please.

“Welcome to Hunterville.”

With that dry-erase declaration, a group of Georgia State’s fans are expressing their devotion to coach Ron Hunter and his men’s basketball team by camping out in front of the Sports Arena tonight. The Panthers (11-4, 3-1) will host UNC Wilmington on Thursday. The game, now known as the “Barefeet for bare feet game” because Hunter will coach without shoes and socks, will assist the charity Samaritan’s Feet in raising money to provide shoes for needy children all over the world. Here’s more about Hunter, his work with the charity, and how he was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

Undergrad Nick Bray, a junior from Newnan, was inspired to found the city by Duke’s Cameron Crazies, who create “Krzyzewskiville” before every game home. Unlike the hundreds that gather in front of Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, Bray expects between nine and 12 people to join him on a cold Wednesday night. He and fellow undergrad Bryan McNatt of Kennesaw are camped out in front of the Sports Arena, at the corner of Collins and Decatur Streets.

Bray, the leader of the student section and who wears a red basketball jersey and blue bow tie to home games, decided on Monday to pitch the tents after travelling to watch the Panthers play at VCU last week.

“VCU made me realize what a home crowd can do,” he said

Hunter said he’s never had any students do anything like this for him in 17 seasons at IUPUI. He visited the tent city Wednesday afternoon before practice and said he was going to visit them again after practice. He’s also planning a doughnut delivery for the residents of his namesake hamlet in the morning.

“It’s impressive,” he said. “I’m humbled that they’ve got something like that going. I’m proud not just for the players, but for the university.”

Bray decided to go with the “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” route when he set up his green and blue tent at the foot of the escalators that take fans up to the basketball court. However, officials from GSU’s facilities and campus police division came by and didn’t demolish Hunterville before the first meal, likely burritos Willy’s from down the street, could be consumed.

Bray and McNatt said there’s not a lot of homework to do because classes just started, so they would likely pass the time with pop-a-shot or by playing a beanbag game.

Because of the past vagaries of ticket counts and attendance figures, officials aren’t sure of the last time the Sports Arena hosted a sell out in its current capacity of almost 3,831. Thursday’s game was close to selling out earlier this week. Bray is doing his part to promote the cause. He says he will be there for every home game the rest of the season, no matter the weather.

“I want to make people realize it’s now or never,” he said.

I linked to it above (if you’d like to read), but here’s the top to a story that is up on ajc.com right now…

On a rare moment away from his first season coaching the Georgia State basketball team, Ron Hunter walks into the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for the first time. He immediately focuses on the nine pairs of shoes, worn by those who have been inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Hunter doesn’t believe in coincidences. The shoes are a sign.

“I can’t get over the shoes,” he says, more than once.

Hunter was invited to tour the King Center to discuss how his admiration for the civil-rights pioneer has influenced his own work to provide shoes to needy children all over the world.

WANT TO HELP?

If interested in helping Samaritan’s Feet, you can do your part by purchasing a $22 ticket to Thursday’s game. Ten dollars from every ticket will be donated to the charity.

Click here if you want to purchase in advance. Use the promo code FEET.

If  you already have a ticket, you can donate $10 at the game, or you can bring in a new pair of children’s shoes and/or a new pair of socks. Please don’t bring used shoes. They can’t be donated.

If you can’t attend the game, but want to help, you can donate by texting SHOES to 85944, and a $10 donation will be added to your cell phone bill. Message and data rates apply.

On Monday, Hunter and his team will give away free shoes to 200 Atlanta-area children at the Blank Family YMCA.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

34 comments Add your comment

ajg-marietta

January 11th, 2012
9:34 pm

This game is going to be great! A full sports arena will be fantastic for this team and for Samaritan’s feet. Once people see this team play they will be hooked.

PantherTalk.com

January 11th, 2012
9:36 pm

Awesome. Tomorrow night is going to be special.

I highly recommend everyone read the Dougs article about Hunter and his MLK visit.

GStateBen

January 11th, 2012
9:37 pm

Thanks for highlighting the #Hunterville Movement Doug!

Great to say PantherTalk.com basketball writer and Super Fan Nick Bray getting the run. Panther fans have evicted a new saying called “Braying.”

See you tomorrow night!

PantherTalk.com

January 11th, 2012
9:38 pm

Awesome. Very proud of what Nick and his friends are doing. Makes me wish I was a student again. Almost.

Welcome to Hunterville! | Panther Talk

January 11th, 2012
9:48 pm

[...] Welcome to Hunterville – AJC Welcome to Hunterville! – Georgia State Sports [...]

Rick James

January 11th, 2012
10:13 pm

I would love to see Georgia St. in Conference USA someday..

hammer22

January 11th, 2012
10:15 pm

Good stuff. Thanks for the coverage Doug.

hammer22

January 11th, 2012
10:15 pm

@Rick James,

I would too.

Fred Masci

January 11th, 2012
10:23 pm

I am not a graduate or a student at Georgia State University (Auburn University grad) but the world needs more people like Ron Hunter. In addition, what Nick Bray is doing is fabulous for an educational institution that most students don’t care what is happening to their sports teams. I encourage all the students there to support their team and their coach Ron Hunter. Follow what Nick is doing and experience everything that goes with a college education.

English

January 11th, 2012
10:34 pm

Pretty impressive Bray. You are setting new standards that I hope fellow students follow.

Go State! Beat UNCW!

GSU Alumni

January 11th, 2012
10:59 pm

Thank you Nick and Bryan. You make us, the alumni , think about what we should be doing to promote GSU Panther’s spirit. Go Panther!!

Iceman

January 11th, 2012
11:10 pm

Great Story! Keep it up!

GSU_MEX_PANTHER

January 11th, 2012
11:11 pm

Great cause to support! Very proud of the students and I hope we sell out the sports arena!

Go GSU!

GSU is in Atlanta

January 11th, 2012
11:15 pm

First Braying, now Huntersville…these guys are amazing!

GSU Panther Nation is coming alive!

C

January 11th, 2012
11:25 pm

Good job GSU.

Kurt

January 11th, 2012
11:29 pm

WOW, all positive comments here! I am glad, and surprised. There is usually one a-hole that will dump on even good stuff like this.

Good going guys!

BariBlue

January 11th, 2012
11:36 pm

Hopefully, Bray and Co. will be a GSU legend someday… they definitely deserve it. You all a leaving a great legacy at State. Stories like these make me proud to call Georgia State University my school. Let’s pack that arena!!!

GSU_2012

January 11th, 2012
11:42 pm

Proud of you guys. I heard about this earlier this week and I thought it was an awesome idea. I am bringing a lot of friends to the game tomorrow and can’t wait to be apart of the largest home crowd in a long time at GSU. Go State!

GET A LIFE BRAY LOL

January 11th, 2012
11:52 pm

<—————————

jweaver

January 11th, 2012
11:56 pm

This is awesome! Thanks for all you do covering GSU athletics Doug!

itsmeagain

January 12th, 2012
12:41 am

I’m sitting outside in front of the Sports Arena right now at 11:40 typing this. Where are the Southern fans telling us how unsafe it is on our campus…

Occupy Hunterville

January 12th, 2012
12:44 am

Can’t wait to see a sold out Sports Arena. Even half full, the home games have been great this year. Great team, band, cheer squad, and crowd. And, cheap hot dogs!

yellor jacket

January 12th, 2012
1:52 am

Give em hell GSU… good luck tomorrow!

Smash

January 12th, 2012
6:23 am

Way to go Bray. Go get em GSU! Go State, State’s Great! GSUUUUUUUUUUU!
1985 alum

2000 Graduate

January 12th, 2012
7:33 am

Can not wait to show my solidarity with your guys tomorrow at the game.
Go Panther!

OhYeah

January 12th, 2012
8:51 am

NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

GSU

January 12th, 2012
8:52 am

You guys are AWESOME!!! Definately deserve the Sixth, and Seventh man awards. We’ll be there tonight can’t wait. Coach Hunter and the kids are making us soooo proud. Remember a win tonight will match all the wins for the last two seasons.
GO PANTHERS!!

GoDawgs

January 12th, 2012
9:16 am

Camping out for this?

[...] been a long time since there was this much excitement surrounding the Panthers’ basketball program. Someone close to the program said the game was approaching sellout status and that the buzz around [...]

Stateside

January 12th, 2012
12:45 pm

Great day to be a Panther! Now let’s get another W tonight!

panther

January 12th, 2012
12:55 pm

Still outside. UNCW bus is about to show up

GSUAlumBaseball81

January 12th, 2012
1:31 pm

Way to go guys! Awesome coverage Doug! Do it GSU Men’s PANTHER basketball team and send UNCW home with a big L tonight.CRH is the man!!!

GSUBB

January 12th, 2012
2:06 pm

Mark Bradley stopped by Hunterville earlier. This will be a fun night.

GSU

January 12th, 2012
5:39 pm

Maybe Curry can hang signs at the game that say:

WANTED- QUARTERBACK
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