RJ Hunter dips in latest ESPN NBA Draft rankings


Expectations were extremely high for the Georgia State Panthers this season, and while Ron Hunter’s team hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty marks thus far, their best player still garners a great deal of national attention. Junior guard RJ Hunter is averaging nearly 20 points per game, and while he has actually dipped a bit on the latest “big board” from ESPN’s Chad Ford ($), Hunter lands 20th with an eye toward the 2015 NBA Draft.

Ford had this to say about Hunter, while moving from 13 (from his previous installment) down to 20 this week:

"My analytics friends, including ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton, still love Hunter. But his jump shot has been shaky to say the least this season. He’s shooting just 31 percent from 3 (down from 39 percent and 36 percent the past two seasons, respectively) and he’s shooting less than 40 percent from the field this season. Even his free throw percentage has plummeted from 88 percent to 77 percent. Defenses have clearly keyed in on him, but scouts who still have him high on their boards think he’ll be much better when he gets to the pros and he will have more space to work with."

Scouts have been divided on Hunter dating back to earlier in the 2014-2015 season, but the drop in production is something that is difficult to look past. As referenced by Ford, there is a school of thought that Hunter will never see this level of defensive attention in the NBA, and while that is certainly true, a 31% mark from three-point distance in college is troubling for a player who profiles as something of a specialist at the next level.

Georgia State has a great deal of talent when compared to the Sun Belt, and that provides optimism that RJ Hunter and his crew could make a run in March that would likely launch his draft stock once again. Still, the parade of praise has slowed a bit for the best college basketball player in the state of Georgia.