Spent a few minutes talking with Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter today for a story that will run next week previewing the start of practice.
Teams can begin practicing at 5 p.m. next Friday. The Panthers, who won 22 games last year, will open their season at Duke on Nov. 9.
Anyway, here are a few things he talked about:
1. He wanted the team, which has nine new players, to get to know each other and develop some mental toughness so he hired a former Navy SEAL to put them through a few training sessions. He called it intense. (I’ll have more on that later).
2. As many of you already know, the team also went to South Africa as part of a Samaritan’s Feet trip. There, they learned a memorable lesson about how good they have it. (I’ll have more on that later).
3. Hunter doesn’t seem to be worried about scoring this year. (More on that later)
4. Some of you have wondered who might be the big man to replace Eric Buckner. The Panthers may have found one, but it may not be who you think . (I’ll have more on that later).
5. The starting five right now: Devonta White, Rashaad Richardson, James Vincent, Manny Atkins and R.J. Hunter.
6. Hunter plans on rotating eight players. Six spots look set. The remaining two are up for grabs. (More on that later).
7. Hunter has also hired a sports psychologist, which I noted before, but figured it was worth another mention.
8. The NCAA hasn’t ruled on Curtis Washington’s eligibility. He transferred from USC. The NCAA recently asked for some more paperwork, which Hunter interprets as a good sign.
9. Practice will start next Friday at 7 p.m. Hunter hopes to have some successful Atlanta businessmen give the team their tips on how to succeed in life before they hit the court.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu