Georgia State pegged as Sun Belt favorite by NBC Sports


Georgia State is going to be very good at basketball this season. We’ve been on this train for months now, but with the stellar combination of returning talent and experience, the Panthers could be set up for a mythical ride through the Sun Belt Conference and into the NCAA Tournament.

With that on the table, Rob Dauster of NBC Sports picked Georgia State to win the Sun Belt title this season, and here is a snippet of his thoughts on the Panthers:

"The Panthers are looking for redemption this season, and they bring back enough talent that they should be the overwhelming favorites to get it. Ryan Harrow, who a former top 40 recruit that played at both N.C. State and Kentucky, starred for the Panthers last year. He’ll be joined in the back court by former top 50 recruit and Louisville guard Kevin Ware this season. Oh, and the best player on the team is sharpshooter R.J. Hunter. Georgia State is loaded. Period."

Later, Dauster also anointed junior guard R.J. Hunter as his preseason pick as Sun Belt Player of the Year:

"The Sun Belt has had quite a bit of individual talent in the league over the last year or two, but Hunter is as good as any of them. That includes lottery pick Elfrid Payton. Hunter is a 6-foot-5 off-guard that is one of the best shooters in the country and capable of putting 30 on anyone."

The reference of 2014 lottery pick Elfrid Payton is an interesting one, as many believed that Hunter was the best player in the Sun Belt last year even with Payton’s rise to national prominence. Over the summer, ESPN’s Chad Ford pegged Hunter as a first round pick should he enter the 2015 NBA Draft, and scouts have been drooling about his jump shot for the better part of two years.

Of course, Hunter is not the only commodity on the Georgia State roster, as Dauster also mentioned by Ryan Harrow (who was picked as a first-team All-Sun Belt contributor) and former Louisville guard Kevin Ware in his piece, while 6-foot-10 senior Curtis Washington should be one of the top big men in the league. There is some early trepidation concerning an ankle injury to Ware, but even with his status up in the air in the early going, the Panthers have plenty of depth, and they look to be one of the best mid-majors in the country while deploying one of the best backcourts (regardless of conference) in America.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Georgia State Panthers throughout the 2014-2015 basketball season.