Perhaps it’s because the Georgia State men’s basketball team has already lost two more Sun Belt games than it did in going 17-1 last season, but there have been some whispers that there is a rift developing between R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow, the team’s leading scorers.
I first read about this rumor in a comment on a post on an earlier blog. And then someone who doesn’t read the blog (the only one, I believe), and therefore wouldn’t have been influenced, asked me about their relationship.
So, I started asking a few others if there was something going on between Harrow, a senior, and Hunter, a junior. They said they had heard the same rumor but hadn’t seen any evidence. And then I heard it again yesterday.
So, I asked Hunter and coach Ron Hunter on Wednesday if there was, as one person put it, a race between the duo to see who could get to the NBA first.
“That’s made up,” R.J. Hunter said.
Hunter is projected as a first-round pick should he come out this year. Harrow is projected as more of a bubble pick, one who may be signed as a free-agent. But both could get to the NBA after this season, so that line of reasoning doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Ron Hunter said if there was a problem between the two of them it would have occurred last year, the first in which they played together after Harrow transferred from Kentucky. he said there’s nothing negative going on between the two this year.
“You’ve got two competitive guys who want to play on the next level,” Hunter said. “And they want to win. They are scoring guards. They want to make the play every time. If they weren’t that way they wouldn’t be as good. There’s no rift in that regard.”
R.J. Hunter said watching he and Harrow is like watching the relationship between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Because they are two competitive scorers, like Durant and Westbrook, sometimes it seems as if they are in “two different flows” on offense during the game.
They have different styles on the court and their points come in different ways.
Hunter is more of a jump-shooter who is very good at drawing fouls. He is averaging 20.2 points per game this season on 40.1-percent shooting.
Harrow is more of a scorer than shooter, a quick guard who can hit the 3-pointer, but seems much better at driving the lane and then inventing shots. He is averaging 20.4 points per game on 49.1-percent shooting.
R.J. Hunter points out that the two, along with Devonta White, were roommates last year. Though not roommates this year, they live on the same floor and hang out.
Ron Hunter said the absence of White, last year’s point guard who got everyone involved in the offense, may be the cause of some of what people perceive, not that he agreed with that perception.
“There is a difference between last year and this year in that distributor between the two,” Ron Hunter said. “Now, you don’t have that.”
More on Harrow-gate
Ron Hunter said he was told a few hours before Saturday’s game at Appalachian State that Ryan Harrow was going to be suspended for one game. He had no idea the suspension was coming. Hunter said he was told of the decision by athletic director Charlie Cobb.
Because it was so close to the tip in Boone, Hunter said he elected to sit Harrow in Monday’s win at Arkansas State.
Hunter said he and Harrow have discussed accountability.
“Now, he’s become a marked man and you don’t become a marked man unless you put yourself in that position,” Hunter said. “He knows that and he’s owned up to that.
“He was embarrassed by it so we’ll see what happens.”
Echoing what he said after Harrow picked up his sixth technical this season in last week’s win against Texas-Arlington, Hunter said he doesn’t want to take away Harrow’s emotional edge.
“If you take that away, he’s not the same player,” Hunter said. “When you make a great play and want to scream…that’s half of college basketball, you’d be T’ing up everybody. He’s got to make sure he understands that.”