Georgia State’s new coach “refuses” to recruit one of Indiana’s top college basketball prospects for 2012. He was laughing when he said it.
Pike High School’s RJ Hunter has around a dozen early scholarship offers, including Wake Forest, Iowa, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt and Oregon State.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was recently offered a scholarship from Georgia State, where father Ron Hunter was hired as coach earlier this month.
It comes with complications.
“I will not recruit my own son,” Hunter told the AJC. He will delegate that responsibility to his top assistant, Darryl LaBarrie. (Talk about some pressure)
“From the first day I got to Georgia State, I told Labarrie that he will be recruiting RJ and I will be recruiting the mom. Hopefully, between the two of us, we can get it done for Georgia State.”
Hunter decided to take the indirect recruiting approach after talking with other college coaches who had basketball prospects as sons.
“When I watch RJ play in high school, the one thing I always ask him right after a game is: Do you want me to be Dad or a coach? If it’s Dad, then I will hug and kiss him and tell he’s going to get better. If he wants me to be a coach, then it will be constructive criticism and talking about how to improve his game.
“With the recruiting process, RJ has seen it all before because of my coaching career. I want him to enjoy the recruiting process. I just refuse to recruit him. I’m after the mother, and I think she enjoys me recruiting her a little bit.”
However, Hunter did offer a scouting report on his son: “He knows how to play. He’s [almost 6-6] and a kid that can really shoot it. Just the typical coach’s kid with solid fundamentals. He has to work on his strength.
“I think he could probably play in any conference in the country. So hopefully he will play in the CAA.”
The CAA’s members include — no surprise — Georgia State.
Iowa, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are the leaders, according to his father. “Those are the three he really likes. Hopefully, that has changed a little bit to include one more school, since his Dad has taken a job at Georgia State.”
Hunter flew to Indianapolis this past weekend to visit his son, who was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot. RJ was fitted with a walking boot and will have to use crutches for the next five weeks.
“He did it in the state basketball tournament and didn’t tell me because he knew I would probably want him to sit out,” Hunter said. “We’re going to keep him off it for awhile. And that means he’ll probably miss most of the summer with his AAU stuff. He may get back in time for a little bit of AAU in late July but we may hold him out of all of it so he can have a productive senior year in high school.”
Where will that high school be? There was speculation that RJ may transfer to a Georgia high school for his senior year. In fact, both RJ and his father were in favor of the transfer.
“We finalized everything on Sunday night; well, his mom did,” Hunter said with a laugh. “RJ and his father were completely vetoed. This was his mom’s decision and I think it was probably the best decision. She did it for academic reasons more than anything else.”
Hunter’s mother informed Pike school officials on Monday morning that he would be returning for his senior year.
Do your OWN scouting report on RJ Hunter. Go 52 seconds into the video below.
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