Archive for December, 2012

GSU basketball ticket sales going well and other notes

Georgia State’s men’s basketball team isn’t experiencing as much on-court success it did last year, but off the court the team is performing better.

The Panthers are seeing significant year-over-year increases in ticket sales in a variety of segments.

Georgia State’s season-ticket sales have increased by 51 percent, from 302 all of last year to 456 this year.

Georgia State’s group sales have increased by 35 percent, from 1,443 sold all of last year to 1,952 this year.

Georgia State’s courtside sales have increased from 10 all of last year to 16 this year.

Student attendance has increased by 13 percent through seven home games, from a 344 per-game average last year to 389 this year. School has been in session for three of the seven home games.

After going 22-12 in coach Ron Hunter’s first season, this year’s team, which is much less experienced than last year’s, is 5-6. The team will play at Rhode Island on Saturday. The Panthers’ next home game will be Jan. 2 against …

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James Vincent: artist and basketball player

James Vincent, nicknamed “Oak” because he’s 6-10, 260 pounds, has a softer side.

Vincent, a center on Georgia State’s basketball team, is also an artist who recognizes that he doesn’t fit the stereotypical profile of either an artist or a basketball player.

“It’s fun to see people’s surprise that I do art and that I’m this big and have an artsy side,” he said.

Vincent, a senior, is majoring in studio art and hopes to one day own a graphic design firm and/or work for Pixar or a video game company, where he would like to draw and conceptualize characters, something he said he does all the time. Aside from the uniqueness of his size, his major is unique as well. He’s believed to be one of three athletes at Georgia State majoring in something related to the arts.

“In 26 years of coaching, I’ve never had a player major in art,” coach Ron Hunter said. “There’s nothing about James that says art, but he loves it.”

The love began when he was 2 years old and finished the video game, …

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Georgia State signs two junior college players

Quarterback Clay Chastain and defensive lineman George Rogers will enroll at Georgia State in January after signing letters of intent today.

Chastain, 6-4, 220 pounds, is coming to Georgia State after playing at Georgia Military College, where he passed for 1,907 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He attended Harrison High. He will have three years of eligibility remaining and will compete against Ben McLane and Ronnie Bell at quarterback.

“He has great size and pocket presence, and he has a good arm with a quick release,” Georgia State coach Trent Miles said in a release. “He will have a chance to compete for the starting position this spring and hopefully make us better at the quarterback position.”

Rogers, from Stillwater, Okla, is 6-3 and 310 pounds. He played two years at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, with 43 tackles this season. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. He will add depth to a defensive line that was reduced to using tight ends and other …

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Georgia State falls to Southern Miss

Georgia State’s free-throw woes cost it another victory in Tuesday’s 69-67 loss to Southern Miss at the Sports Arena.

An inability to hit from the line in the first half turned what could have been a comfortable win into a close game that the Eagles were able to pull out, taking their first lead with less than three minutes remaining. They held on for the victory when Markus Crider missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Georgia State hit 15 of its 22 free throws, slightly better than its season average of 65.4 percent. But six of its seven misses came in the first half, a game after two missed free throws cost it a chance to tie or beat Troy on Saturday.

“If we made free throws and didn’t turn it over we would have won the game,” coach Ron Hunter said.

R.J. Hunter led the Panthers (5-6) with 24 points, 20 of which came in the first half. Manny Atkins and Devonta White added 13 each. The Panthers’ last two losses have come by three points, both in the game’s final second.

“We’re …

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Georgia State rolling in commitments

New Georgia State football coach Trent Miles and his staff are quickly stockpiling commitments.

The Panthers have received commitments from two three-star players in the past 24 hours in safety Jeremy Fulcher (Dallas, Texas) and linebacker Kight Dallas (Stephenson HS). They also received a commitment from defensive back Trent Hill (M.L. King).

That brings the list of commitments to five, joining quarterback Clay Chastain (Georgia Military) and offensive lineman Brandon Pertile (Clearwater, Fla.).

In addition, wide receiver Albert Wilson, arguably the team’s most dangerous weapon, tweeted earlier today that he was going to return to Georgia State for his senior year. He caused some confusion earlier this season when he sent out a series of tweets that seemed to indicate he was considering leaving school with a year of eligibility. Wilson had 947 receiving yards last year more than 650 yards more than the Panthers’ next most-productive receiver. He also averaged 25.9 yards per …

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GSU prepares to host Southern Miss

Georgia State will host Southern Miss at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the final non-conference home game of the year.

Surprising few, the Panthers have played unevenly in their first 10 games. Coach Ron Hunter is still working on finding a rotation on a roster that features nine players who didn’t play a minute for the Panthers last year.

The team’s inexperience has shown in the first half of games.

The team has been outscored by 57 points in the first half of games this year. In their five losses, they have trailed by an average of 13.4 points per game at the half. In the five wins, they have led by an average of two points at the half.

Their rallies in the second-half have been impacted by their inability to consistently hit free throws. The team is hitting just 65.4 percent of its free throws this year

Saturday’s loss at Troy is an example.

The Panthers trailed by 14 at the half, fought back to take a five-point lead in the final minutes, and then lost when James Vincent failed to hit …

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Georgia State falls to Troy

Georgia State lost at Troy 57-56 Saturday night. James Vincent missed two free throws with less than one second on the clock.

The Panthers (5-5) rallied from a 14-point margin at halftime to build as a much as a five-point lead in the second half. But the Trojans responded with a 6-0 run to take the one-point lead with 33.9 seconds left.

Devonta White led GSU with 13 points. Manny Atkins added 12 and Vincent had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to move into sixth place in school history with 87 blocks in his career.

The Panthers will host Southern Miss at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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Luke Huard will join Georgia State staff

Luke Huard will join Trent Miles’ staff at Georgia State.

Huard is currently the offensive coordinator at Illinois State. Miles hasn’t decided which position group Huard will coach on the offensive side of the ball. He is expected to arrive next week. The Redbirds lost 51-35 to Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

With Huard calling the plays, Illinois State averaged 30.2 points and 396.8 yards per game this season. They averaged 27.9 points and 383 yards in 2011 and 389 yards in 2010, all with Huard as offensive coordinator.

Miles’ Indiana State teams were in the same conference (Missouri Valley) as Illinois State.

Huard joined Illinois State in 2009 as quarterbacks coach and helped true freshman Matt Brown pass for almost 2,400 yards. Brown passed for 2,665 yards as a sophomore, 2,187 yards as a junior and 3,370 yards this year.

Huard graduated from North Carolina 2002. Two of his brothers, Damon and Brock, were quarterbacks at Washington.

He will …

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Matt Ryan on Georgia State OC Jeff Jagodzinski

New Georgia State coach Trent Miles hired Jeff Jagodzinski to be his offensive coordinator on Tuesday.

Jagodzinski brings a lengthy resume that includes being the head coach at Boston College, where he led the Eagles to consecutive appearances in the ACC championship game in 2007 and ‘08.

Matt Ryan, the quarterback who guided the Eagles to that first appearance in 2007, is now the quarterback of the Falcons.

Esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter snagged a few quotes from Ryan about his former coach:

MATT RYAN:

“I heard he got hired down at Georgia State. I’m excited for him. Obviously, I had a lot of fun with him in my last year at Boston College. I think he’ll do a good job. Obviously, he has a wealth of knowledge on the offensive side of the ball. I think he’ll do a good job.”

MORE:

“Jags, likes to have a good time. That’s for sure. He likes to keep things loose. I think the guys will enjoy playing for him.”

Other headlines

Trent Miles talks about hiring Jeff Jagodzinski

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Trent Miles talks about hiring Jeff Jagodzinski

Former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski was hired as Georgia State’s offensive coordinator on Tuesday. It was a surprising move for Georgia State, a third-year program that is making the move to the Sun Belt Conference next year. Jagodzinski led Boston College to two appearances in the ACC championship game, and helped Matt Ryan become the No. 2 player selected in the NFL draft.

New Coach Trent Miles took a few minutes between recruiting visits to talk about his new hire and how Jagodzinski will fit into the staff.

Q: How did this hire come about?

A: Jags and I worked together at Green Bay (in 2000). He’s a heck of a football coach. With all the experience he has …

We’ve always kept in touch. When I got this position I asked if he was interested. He said he would think about it. When it came true, it picked up from there.

Q: Will he also coach QBs?

A: Right now, he’s going to work with quarterbacks. We want to see how the staff will sort out. He will have input on the …

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