Someone from Georgia had to do it.
3 years ago, Georgia State was the talk of the town in the first week of the NCAA tournament for multiple reasons.
R.J. Hunter had just hit a big shot to upset Baylor. On the sideline was his coach, who had fallen out of his rolling chair celebrating. What makes the story even better, the coach, Ron Hunter, is R.J.’s father.
Yesterday, Georgia State punched their ticket to the tournament again for the first time since then. Ron Hunter won’t have his son this time around, but he does have a great group of guys that are ready to go to battle for him.
The Panthers were close to returning back to the tournament last year, but a loss against Troy in the semifinals left them to focus on the next season. Not only did they come back this season motivated, but they came back hungry.
Georgia State played great all season. Their offense was efficient and their zone defense was something special that left teams frustrated at times. They went on a 10 game winning streak, and it looked like the favorites to win the Sun Belt.
Malik Benlevi was the voice of the team, and they looked for him to give them an energy boost. Isaiah Williams took a limited role this season coming off the bench. Devin Mitchell and Jeff Thomas are players that can shoot it from almost anywhere. And then you have the Sun Belt Player of the Year, D’Marcus Simonds.
The Russell Westbrook of the Sun Belt is what they like to call him. Simonds was everything for the Panthers this year. When the team needed a bucket, he was the go-to option. When they needed a stop, it was his defense that came through big for them.
When you have all these players together clicking at the same time, it’s going to be tough to stop them. So don’t sleep on them in the tournament, they might make some noise.