An NBA scout’s take on Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter

Georgia State's R.J. Hunter scored 35 points in last week's win against Georgia Southern. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter is considering leaving Georgia State to make himself eligible for the NBA draft. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter is trying to decide if he should leave the Panthers after three years and make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Hunter, a 6-foot-6 guard, has almost all of the school scoring records and just led the Panthers into the third round of the NCAA tournament, where they were beaten by Xavier.

At almost all of Georgia State’s games this year there were multiple NBA scouts in attendance.

One scout, whose name and team are being withheld because he isn’t allowed to discuss players, said he sees Hunter maybe as a late-first round pick and isn’t sure he should leave school

Another scout, whose name and team are also being withheld, said he has Hunter pegged as going between picks 15-30. He thinks he is going to come out.

Here is the first scout’s report on Hunter; most of this shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have watched him play the past three years. His comments are included, with stats in italics.

Positives

IQ: His IQ is a big plus. He knows how to play. Hunter led the team with 126 assists and also shot 230 free throws, often “creating” scoring chances by drawing fouls.

Size: He’s got good size for his position, which is 2.

Hands: Good hands and good instincts defensively. Hunter had 75 steals and 35 blocks this season.

Character: Terrific kid. You root for him and his family. Thrilled to see what happened at the NCAAs, not only for him, but for the school, the program, the university, the city of Atlanta.

Intangibles: It’s all positive. He will work hard. He won’t be an issue. He will take the coaching. People will factor that in.

Negatives

Shooting percentage: The guy shot 30 percent from 3. If his real strength is shooting and he didn’t shoot well, what do you say? That he’s going to have a better year next again much tougher competition? The other thing is he’s shooting 30 percent in a conference that’s not very good. They say mid-major, it’s low-major to me. It’s not in the same league as Missouri Valley.

Body: The body is a concern (in terms of strength).

Quickness: I don’t think he’s that quick. Can he beat people off the dribble?

Defense: They played zone the whole year so it’s hard for to gauge him defensively.

Verdict

The scout said Georgia State had a storybook season, but asked if the shot against Baylor redeemed Hunter. The scout pointed out that until the last three minutes Hunter did almost nothing (four points) against the Bears. He said teams are careful about making decisions based upon outstanding play in the NCAA and conference tournament. There are any number of examples of people who had a great tournaments that haven’t become great pros.

“Pre-tournament, he wasn’t having a low first-round pick kind of year,” the scout said. “From the beginning of the year, his stock fell. It may have come up a little at the end. I think NBA teams can see through it.”

He said teams that need someone who can sit on the wing or in the corner and pop 3-pointers may take a chance on Hunter between picks 15-25.

Hunter should also factor in what other “shooters” are going to come out this year. How many or how few will impact where he could be selected.

The scout said the workouts in Chicago are going to be huge for Hunter because they will give him a chance to show he can defend and that he is a better shooter.

“You hope this year was an aberration,” he said.

My take on Hunter’s shooting is he is a much better shooter than he showed this year. I think he’s more likely to shoot the 39.5 percent he posted as a sophomore when Georgia State had more scoring threats than the 30.5 percent he posted this year when he and Ryan Harrow were usually the only scorers in the lineup.

 


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