Georgia State coach Ron Hunter was finally cleared to talk to reporters (that’s a joke, kind of) after having hip replacement surgery on April 6.
A few things happened while he was recuperating, notably the Panthers joined the Sun Belt Conference. They will begin play in 2013, giving Hunter one more year in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Hunter, usually funny, always confident and brutally honest, offered his thoughts on the move, negative recruiting tactics, last year’s team, and the one player that he forgot to tell about the pending conference change. I’ll post part II in the morning. (Questions and answers have been paraphrased)
Q: How’s your hip?
A: I’m not on house arrest, so I can come to the office for a couple of hours. I came in for 90 minutes yesterday and a couple of hours today.
Q: Did they replace it with plastic or titanium?
A: Titanium, they replaced the whole deal. They said it will make me a better golfer [laughs].
Q: I was told that you were going to watch every play from the previous season while you were recuperating. Did you?
A: I watched a lot. I learned a lot of things. I really appreciate more what we did this year.
Q: What did you learn?
A: I really learned how quickly the kids bought into the system. The system I’ve been teaching, it’s complicated. For these kids to pick it up as quickly as they did…
Q: Will that make coaching next year’s team more difficult. It will have a lot of younger players. Will it create unrealistic expectations that you can duplicate that success?
A: It helps in a sense that I’m going to take exactly what we did with this group and do the same.
Remember than when I got here, none of the players or on the staff knew my system. We’ve got three players coming back that could be starters. I’ve got 7-8 players that have been with the system and a staff that’s been through it.
Q: Is your son R.J. comfortable in it? I know you’ve never coached him, but I assume yall have talked about it and he has seen it.
A. We have talked about it. I asked him, ‘Do you feel comfortable right now playing in it?’ He said he felt confident he can play in the system. He feels really confident in it.
Q. Are you done recruiting? If so, how many more signees?
A. No. There are three kids that want the scholarship and another that’s visiting. I’m being really picky and cautious right now. We hit a home run early and I don’t want to mess this up. I will bring in one more. I might save the second one for next year’s recruiting class. More head coaches make more mistakes in April because they panic and make an offer. We have a good young group coming back. We are looking for a fit.
Q: Are you looking for a particular strength or position?
A: I need someone who can play the middle of the matchup and rebound the basketball. I need the tough guy inside. T.J. [Shipes] can be that guy, but I’d rather not rely on an 18-year-old. James Vincent is doing great. This [scholarship] is an insurance policy. I won’t recruit someone better for the system than Vincent. If Vincent makes that next step we will win 20 games next year.
Q: Twenty wins in a tough CAA?
A: I really believe that. It won’t be about talent. We will not allow our youth to be a crutch for us. VCU was young and won.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu