It may be just the middle of July, but Georgia State men’s basketball has already been a hot topic as season ticket renewals go fast and mentions in the media seem to be coming on a daily basis.
In the category of “It’s Never Too Early,” College Sports Madness is counting down its top 144 schools in the 144 days leading up to the start of the regular season, Nov. 8.
Georgia State comes in ranked No. 120 and second in the Sun Belt.
“The reason expectations are high for this team is because nearly everyone from last year’s squad is back, and then some,” writer Todd Salem proclaims.
That is true. The only Panther who saw significant time last year but will not return in 2013-14 is James Vincent, who graduated. The top four scorers return and the Panthers welcome four newcomers and a redshirt from last season to the squad.
“Other than their starting center, everyone else of note is back for this Panthers squad. The main contributors are R.J. Hunter, Devonta White and Manny Atkins. The three finished as the top three on the team in scoring, minutes, assists, steals…pretty much everything. Hunter was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman. He had pretty solid shooting splits as well. If he can expand his repertoire, he will be a formidable player. White is the do everything point guard, the team facilitator who can still get his own points. And Atkins, a transfer from Virginia Tech, was masterful in his first season as a Panther.”
Last season, the Panthers won 15 games, including difficult road contests at Northeastern, George Mason and Old Dominion. Another win or two could have led to a second straight postseason bid.
So what does College Sports Madness predict? The prognosticators believe the Panthers to be a CBI/CIT team, the same as two years ago.
“However, the Sun Belt Conference has witnessed some unlikely conference tournament runs in recent years,” Salem said. “It is not out of the realm of possibility that this team could make one of those runs through conference tournament play and into the Big Dance. They have the horses to do it; they have reliable scorers, a veteran team returning with a very experienced head coach on the bench.”
So with summer practice coming to an end in a few weeks and a schedule announcement still a couple of weeks away (I keep getting asked, so I figured I would let you know), let us know what you think about the upcoming season. Will R.J. repeat on a stellar freshman season? Will Devonta becoming the all-time leading scorer in GSU history (he needs 516 points)? Which new player do you want to see the most (Curtis, Ryan, Isaiah, Jaylon or Darius)?
We want to hear from you so let your voice be heard on social media. Just add the #allblueallin hashtag. You never know when we will retweet you or reply.
It may be July, but basketball season is right around the corner.
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