R.J. Hunter projected as 2015 first round pick by ESPN’s Chad Ford


College basketball seems to be a long way from tip-off, but that hasn’t stopped the hype machine from swirling around Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter in the off-season. First, Hunter drew some incredible reviews while participating in the LeBron James Skills Academy in mid-July, and now, Chad Ford of ESPN is projecting the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year as a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Here is what Ford had to say when pegging Hunter to land with the hometown Atlanta Hawks with the 14th overall pick in his “way too early” mock draft:

"The Hawks have one of the best shooters in the league in Kyle Korver, but as he ages, they need a long-term replacement. This hometown prospect wowed scouts this summer at LeBron’s camp with his shooting. He’s not a great athlete and he’s playing in the Sun Belt Conference, but shooters always rise in the draft and Hunter has a ton of potential."

As a sophomore, Hunter shot nearly 40% from three-point range (on almost 8 attempts per game), and that number could easily jump with a big-time supporting cast around him for the Panthers this season. The 6-foot-5 junior from Indianapolis is considered to be a legitimate All-American candidate as the season approaches, and if all goes well in Atlanta, Georgia State could be in the mix for about 30 wins and, potentially, an at-large bid (if they need it) into the NCAA Tournament.

Obviously, the exercise of actually putting out a real mock draft in August is absurd (and Ford likely knows this), but the fact that Hunter is rising up draft boards at an astronomical rate is noteworthy, and the buzz surrounding Georgia State will continue to build.