NCAA countdown: No. 64 Georgia State
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: Coach Ron Hunter remembered watching Ryan Harrow dominate on the Georgia high school scene when the scoring point guard with was a “legend” as the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Now, Hunter just wants to see Harrow get back to square one and rekindle his passion.
That was the big and easy recruiting pitch for Harrow, who transferred from Kentucky after an up-and-down year as the starting point guard for the Wildcats. Harrow, who had transferred from N.C. State to Kentucky in 2011, chose Georgia State as his third school and was granted immediate eligibility from the NCAA on a hardship waiver to be closer to family, as his dad’s health is poor. Harrow grew up in nearby Marietta, Ga.
Harrow (9.9 points per game last season) comes to Atlanta during a transitioning and thriving time for the program, as the Panthers move from the CAA to the Sun Belt Conference this season. Last season, Hunter directed GSU to 15 wins with nine newcomers and one lone senior. With Harrow and a talented core back, this is the season for everything to come together and the team to tap its great potential.
2012-13 in review: 15-16 overall, 10-8 (Colonial Athletic Association).
Path to the Dance: Even though the Panthers are poised for a big year, winning the Sun Belt tournament is vital for the coveted NCAA tournament bid. There they’ll have to fend off potent Arkansas State and Western Kentucky teams that won’t welcome the Panthers to their new league with open arms.
Star watch: Although Harrow’s immediate eligibility draws much of the attention, the best player on the team is returning freshman sensation R.J. Hunter, the coach’s son. Hunter was one of just three freshmen in the country to average 17 points and five rebounds per game. His 38-point outburst against Old Dominion is proof of his takeover abilities. Also returning is veteran point guard Devonta White, who averaged 14.8 points and 3.9 assists per game last season. Virginia Tech transfer Manny Atkins (14.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) also comes back as capable double-double producer. USC … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 64 Georgia State, click here.]