Georgia State’s Ron Hunter still in pain, but staying focused

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter and son R.J. Hunter at Monday's practice. Ron Hunter sustained a partially torn achilles tendon on Sunday. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter and son R.J. Hunter at Monday’s practice. Ron Hunter sustained a partially torn Achilles tendon on Sunday. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Esteemed colleague Helena Oliviero attended Georgia State’s practice for me today. Why was Helena there? She is working on a Personal Journey story about the Hunters. So, you need to look out for that in the Sunday Living section in a few weeks. If you have any thoughts, remembrances or anecdotes about the Hunters, please email her at holiviero@ajc.com.

This is her report:

Using a scooter-like device with his left leg in a cast, Georgia State coach Ron Hunter had no choice but to take a seat for a light practice and shoot around on Monday.

He said an X-ray showed he had partially tore his Achilles tendon, which happened as he jumped off the bench to celebrate winning the Sun Belt tournament on Sunday in New Orleans. He said he will wear a hard cast for three weeks and then doctors will decide whether he may need surgery or more time with his leg in a cast.

“I’ll be honest: I’m hurting,” he said at GSU Sports Arena.

He said he has not taken any pain killers yet — not even an over the counter Advil — to help alleviate the pain. He said doesn’t want to take any medication that may interfere with his mental clarity. That said, he was thinking about taking one tonight to help him sleep. He has not slept since winning the Sun Belt Championship game.

Intense pain and worrying about coaching sitting down is what kept him up all night.

“It’s not that I am worried about me. I am concerned about my players who have been seeing my coach a certain way for a long time, in some cases, three years, and for me not to be able to coach like that and for them to think our coach isn’t coaching us like he usually does, that is what kept me up at last night.”

He said he received between 300 to 400 congratulatory texts – from high school teammates and father-son coaches including Ray McCallum and Homer Drew who texted him: Congratulations. So happy for you and R.J. Drew, of course, is the father of Baylor coach Scott Drew who Hunter will match wits with on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“It was wonderful to receive so many texts. Some people I didn’t know had my number,” said Ron Hunter who joked: “I may have to change my number.”

Hunter said after the injury Kevin Ware, who suffered a broken leg in the NCAA tournament two years ago, said to him: “Don’t worry about it. Everything will be OK.”

He said it gave him a boost, and also helped put things in perspective.

“There is no greater story in the NCAA tournament that Kevin Ware – for him to have an opportunity to get back to the tournament and to have success. He can go back to the tournament and burn some demons. I told him I want him to leave here not as the injured Kevin Ware but as a basketball player Kevin Ware.”

On Ryan Harrow, Hunter said he was getting an MRI (when the media interviews were going on) and they will see if he can practice tomorrow. Hunter said it looks like his ability to play will be a game-time decision.

On who they will play: Hunter said he didn’t really care about Georgia State’s seed or who they would be matched up against. For him the biggest concern was where they would play and he was thrilled they will play in Jacksonville, which is within driving distance.

“The only team we don’t want to play right now is the Atlanta Hawks,” joked Hunter.


View Comments 0