Archive for January, 2012

GSU at No. 24 in mid-major poll

Georgia State’s men’s basketball team debuted at No. 24 in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll published by collegeinsider.com.

The Panthers (13-4, 5-1) are one of three teams from the Colonial Athletic Association in the poll. Georgia Mason is No. 14 and VCU is No. 19.

Georgia State is about to begin a stretch of four games in eight days, starting with a two-game road swing at Northeastern on Wednesday, followed by at Delaware on Saturday. The Panthers will then return home to host James Madison before hitting the road again to face Drexel on Jan. 25.

This is an important stretch for the Panthers.

As you may have read, coach Ron Hunter wasn’t happy with the team’s effort in Saturday’s win over Towson.

“The effort wasn’t there,” he said. “I don’t think it was because they didn’t want to play. I think it was a buildup of a lot of different things. At the end of day you are going to have nights that way. We didn’t dive for loose balls.

“You can never have a bad night with effort. I …

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“Kids’ smiles are the same, whether it’s South Africa or south Atlanta”

Senior James Fields washes someone's feet before they receive new shoes.

Senior James Fields washes someone's feet before they receive new shoes.

Tracionaa, a petite 7-year-old with a Christmas morning smile, puts on her new black, canvas shoes and then finds the closest mirror.

She sticks one leg out, examining the shoe closely. She nods and smiles.

“Kids’ smiles are the same, whether it’s South Africa or south Atlanta,” Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter said.

Hunter and athletes from Georgia State were washing feet and giving away shoes on behalf of Samaritan’s Feet on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday at the Blank Family YMCA on Luckie Street. Some of the shoes were paid for as a result of the donations made at last week’s “Barefoot for Bare Feet” game.

Tracionaa was one of the 200 children who benefited.

“This is about giving, giving back,” her mother, Tracy Gipson, said. “We’re grateful to see the deal that God gave us in this time of hardship.”

Gipson moved her family to Atlanta from Oklahoma City last year to start a new …

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The good and bad of GSU’s win over Towson

The good and bad of Georgia State’s 57-42 win over Towson. It was the Panthers’ ninth consecutive at home, where they are undefeated this season, and the Tigers’ 37th consecutive loss, extending their dubious NCAA record.

The Good

The win. The Panthers have now surpassed their victory total from 2010-11.

James Vincent. I was curious how he was going to fit into coach Ron Hunter’s up-and-down offense. His size is such that he seems better suited for a half-court offense, which is probably what former coach Rod Barnes thought when he signed him. However, he’s given starter Eric Buckner breaks when he’s needed them and had his own breakout game on Saturday, scoring a career- and game-high 18 points. Hunter said afterward that he needs to get him some more minutes to rest Buckner more.

The defense (stay tuned). The Tigers shot 25 percent, the fifth consecutive opponent to shoot less than 40 percent.

The rebounding. The Panthers outrebounded the Tigers 43-30, the first time they’ve …

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Recapping Georgia State’s win over Wilmington

Recapping Georgia State’s 75-61 victory over North Carolina Wilmington on Thursday at a not-packed, but-still-loud Sports Arena.

The Good

The Panthers crowd. It was the largest since Feb. 2008 when the Panthers played Florida State. It was also loud. Very loud. James Fields said after he got used to the noise and energy, it was awesome. UNCW coach Buzz Peterson described it as much different than it was last year.

The orange uniforms. Rashaad Richardson described them as “sweet.”

The defense. The Panthers held their fourth consecutive opponent to less than 40-percent shooting.

The bench. Led by Richardson, in his first extended minutes in four games, who scored seven points in 13 minutes. The bench players totaled 13 points. That’s more than they scored against George Mason (8) and VCU (2) combined, and the first time they scored more than 10 points in four games. Hunter said Richardson saved the team with his energy.

James Fields. He scored a career-high 21 points and had …

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Drew Little leaves GSU’s football team — updated at 4:15 p.m.

Quarterback Drew Little, who started 13 games in his two-year career, has left Georgia State’s team. Coach Bill Curry said he was surprised by Little’s decision.

“We did not want him to leave,” Curry said.

Little confirmed that he is no longer in school, but declined to discuss anything else. He was arguably the Panthers’ best player in their inaugural season in 2010, passing for 2,102 yards and 18 touchdowns. However, he was suspended from spring practice as well as the season’s first four games for breaking team rules during the offseason. Curry eventually eliminated the four-game suspension because he said Little did everything asked of him in the offseason.

Little still started two games, and saw action in two more, passing for 468 yards, with six interceptions and no touchdowns. He suffered a sternum injury in his second start against Murray State and didn’t play in the final six games.

“There were obstacles after obstacles after obstacles …

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“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 …

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More facts about the “Barefoot for Bare Feet” Game

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter will coach in his bare feet in Thursday’s game against UNC-Wilmington to raise awareness of the millions of children around the world that don’t have a pair of shoes.

Shoes aren’t a fashion statement. They can help prevent foot-borne diseases that can kill.

Hunter has coached one game in his bare feet each of the past four seasons to help a charity, Samaritan’s Feet, that he’s been working with.

Hunter said he hopes that they can raise enough money this week to purchase 250,000 pairs of shoes, which will be given away when he goes on his annual trip this summer to visit impoverished children.

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

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 …

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GSU’s 11-game win streak snapped

Georgia State was defeated by George Mason, 61-58, on Saturday in Fairfax, Va. The loss snapped the Panthers’ school-record 11-game win streak in a battle of the CAA’s top two teams.

It is the Panthers’ first loss since beating beaten by Florida Atlantic on Nov. 14. They will return to the court for the “Barefoot Game” on Thursday against UNC-Wilmington. Coach Ron Hunter will coach in his bare feet to raise awareness of the work done by Samaritan’s Feet.

Georgia State (11-4, 3-1) was undone by poor free-throw shooting, an all-too familiar issue, and the difference between a charge and a non-call.

Georgia State, which was one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the country last year under former coach Rod Barnes, hit 10 of its 17 free throws, while the Patriots were 18 of 21, including 10 of 10 by Ryan Pearson.

As big a factor as Pearson was on the line, it was another play he made that may have been the difference in the game.

With the Patriots leading by 1, Pearson …

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Ali the calm center in the GSU maelstrom

Amidst all the helter-skelter of Georgia State’s offense and defense is the serenity of Jihad Ali.

As bodies fly up and down the court in coach Ron Hunter’s up-tempo offense and hyper-aggressive matchup zone defenses, Ali’s face rarely changes expression.

He’s moved from the starting lineup, to the bench, and back to the starting lineup and his production has remained constant.

He’s averaging 12.2 points, second on the team, and 5.1 rebounds per game, tied for second, as the Panthers play in the last in a brutal three-game stretch against Georgia Mason (11-4, 3-0) on Saturday. Another win, the team’s 12th consecutive, would stamp the Panthers (11-3, 3-0) as the team to beat in the CAA this season.

Will Ali’s expression change?

“I try to get him to talk louder,” Hunter said. “He’s very low-key, very intellingent. He’s the opposite of Ron Hunter.”

Ali is the go-to presence for a team that has two consistent jump-shooters: and sophomore Devonta White. When the team is in a …

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GSU’s Hunter: ‘At some point, you’re going to have to say these kids are pretty good.’

Before they left the court after defeating VCU 55-53 on Wednesday, Georgia State’s Jihad Ali walked over to coach Ron Hunter and thanked him.

It was the first time Ali and the Panthers’ six-man senior class had won at the Siegel Center.

Ali said it was the biggest victory of his career. Hunter said the moment is something that he will always remember.

“That meant a lot to me,” Hunter said.

Now the Panthers, winners of a school-record 11 consecutive games, will continue their reputation-building road-trip at George Mason on Saturday.

It’s no secret that Georgia State’s bonafides have come into question based upon the teams they have beaten. However, Drexel, victim No. 10, was picked to win the CAA. VCU, No. 11 and a Final Four participant last year, was picked third. George Mason, which will host the Panthers at 7 p.m., was picked second.

Hunter said the constant questioning of his team’s worth is both tiresome and invigorating.

It’s tiresome because he said he’s never coached …

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