Why would R.J. Hunter leave Georgia State for the NBA?

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, R.J. Hunter and former Georgia State player Rodney Hamilton salute the crowd during a pre-game ceremony. R.J. Hunter and Hamilton were tied with 1,515 points as the school's all-time leading scorers. (Jason Getz, Georgia State)

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter, R.J. Hunter and former Georgia State player Rodney Hamilton salute the crowd during a pre-game ceremony. R.J. Hunter and Hamilton were tied with 1,515 points as the school’s all-time leading scorers. (Jason Getz, Georgia State)

So, what will Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter do?

Will he return to Decatur Street for his senior season or will he leave for the NBA?

We should know within two weeks, at the most.

Most people seem convinced that Hunter is gone with most of the school’s records in hand along with arguably the most exciting moment in school history imprinted in the nation’s basketball memory stick: the 30-footer with less than three seconds left that propelled the Panthers past Baylor in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

So, in a two-part blog I thought I’d try to ask the two questions posed in the second paragraph:

Why wouldn’t R.J. Hunter leave for the NBA?

Why would R.J. Hunter stay?

We will start with why Hunter would leave.

I’ll try to address most of the reasons I’ve heard for both sides of the debate.

His stock will never be higher

It’s hard to argue that he can top the Baylor moment.

After being held to four points in the first 37 minutes, Hunter erupted for 12 points in the final three, capped by the game winning points.

As George Costanza learned on the TV show “Seinfeld,” always leave them laughing.

There’s also the fact that if he were to come back history isn’t on his side. J

He has nothing left to accomplish

Again, hard to argue.

Hunter came here with a goal of putting Georgia State basketball into conversations.

The Panthers had one win in the NCAA tournament in their history.

Now, they have two and Hunter is why. When the list of a program’s accomplishments is short, it’s hard not to get excited when another box is checked.

He is the two-time Sun Belt men’s player of the year and will likely repeat as the conference male athlete of the year.

He already has NBA intelligence

I’m sure that I’ve seen smart players, but Hunter is among the most clever I’ve covered.

He’s particularly good at drawing fouls as he curls around screens, or as he drives from the left wing to the basket.

Hunter led the team with 126 assists and also shot 230 free throws, often “creating” scoring chances by drawing fouls.

Who can turn down millions?

The 2014-15 salary scale ranged from $4.5 million as the top pick to $911,400 going to the 30th pick. The 15th pick, which is the highest I’ve read Hunter could go, received $1.5 million.

So, let’s say Hunter returns to school and improves his stock a smidge for next year. The financial payoff isn’t going to improve by too much. The only change would be the ego boost that may come from being a “lottery pick.”

He’s already looking at agents

Anticipating this decision, Ron Hunter began interviewing agents before the season, so that he could help R.J. should he need to make a decision to hire one. So, most of that work was done months ago, which is one less headache to deal with when R.J. will need to focus on the workouts in Chicago.

Of course, interviewing agents isn’t the same as signing with an agent.


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