Georgia State’s Ron Hunter appears to have recovered from the Achilles tendon tear he suffered last March while celebrating the Panthers winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title.
On Thursday night, at the third annual GSU Jam, Hunter broke out the dance moves to the song “Hit The Quan” by iHeart Memphis.
Georgia State went on to defeat No. 3 seed Baylor in the Round of 64, thanks to a game-winning three from Hunter’s son, R.J. That shot made for one of the best moments of March Madness, as Ron Hunter fell of his rolling chair in disbelief.
R.J. Hunter is nowa a rookie with the Boston Celtics. Ron Hunter enters his fifth season with the Panthers.
Ron Hunter may not be recovered from his ruptured achilles tendon yet, but the Georgia State head coach is still competing at a level above his program’s conference.
Late on Wednesday night, Hunter landed a commitment from D’Marcus Simonds, a talented, 6-foot-4 shooting guard. Simonds was originally committed to Mississippi State but he reopened his recruitment after Rick Ray was fired by the university.
“There’s no place like home!” Simonds, a native of Buford, Georgia, said on twitter. “I will be continuing my basketball career and education at Georgia State University!”
Simonds is one of the more talented guards in the south, the No. 84 recruit in the Class of 2016, according to Rivals. Simonds will be a nice piece for Hunter to build around, as he’ll arrive on campus after Kevin Ware graduates and when Indiana transfer Jeremy Hollowell is a senior. Former top 150 recruit and Alabama transfer Devin Mitchell will be a sophomore that year as well.
Georgia State is coming off of an upset win over No. 3 Baylor in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA tournament.
Last spring, guard Kevin Ware made the decision to transfer from Louisville and ultimately wound up at Georgia State where he plays for head coach Ron Hunter Sr. Of course Ware became a national story as a sophomore at Louisville, when his season came to an end in the first half of their Elite Eight win over Duke due to a broken shinbone suffered challenging a Tyler Thornton three-pointer.
But that moment became a bit of a burden for Ware, who wanted nothing more than to be discussed for what he was able to do on the court as opposed to the injury he suffered. Among the topics discussed in a story written by Thomas Lake of Sports Illustrated were the circumstances surrounding Ware’s decision to leave Louisville after redshirting in 2013-14.
Ware has another explanation for his departure: He was tired of being treated like damaged goods. Sometimes it felt as if the sight of the injury was more traumatic than the injury itself — as if his coaches and teammates never quite recovered from Ware’s broken leg. In practice, when he went up for a layup or a blocked shot, he could hear the nervous silence.
“It got annoying after a while,” he says, “and I just really wanted to come home.”
That’s certainly understandable, and the decision is just one part of the story told about a player who is an important contributor for a team looking to reach the NCAA tournament. On a team led by high-scoring seniors R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow, Ware’s averaging 8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Hunter and Harrow are undoubtedly going to receive a lot of attention from opposing teams, which makes Ware’s role of supplementary scoring option an important one as Lake writes in his story. Georgia State has won three of its last four games, and in all three wins Ware’s managed to score in double figures (he scored just two points in a loss at Appalachian State).
Similar to his stint at Louisville, it’s taken Ware some time to find his footing within Ron Hunter’s system. And if he can build upon his recent play, Ware could be instrumental in getting the Panthers to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.