So, what will Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter do?
Will he return to Decatur Street or will he leave for the NBA?
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.
Today I will look at why he may stay, using the same topics posited for why he may leave.
His stock will never be higher
This is not true.
Unless you are the No. 1 pick, of course your stock can improve. The website www.nbadraft.net has Hunter going as the first pick in the second round, which isn’t a good spot because second-round picks, unlike those who go in the first round, don’t receive guaranteed contracts.
If Hunter were to fall into a second-round projection this year, he will likely be one next year. So, he’s not going to lose much by returning.
Mock drafts on cbssports.com, some of which haven’t been updated in more than a month, have Hunter going anywhere from 23rd to not going in the first round.
Draft express (http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-mock-draft/2015/) has him going 25th.
In short, his stock is all over the place and it’s a big gamble to go all in if you aren’t reasonably sure that you are going to be selected in the first round.
The other factor that will affect where he might be selected is how many other players similar to him make themselves eligible for the draft. A lot of shooters will dilute the talent pool and could push him down the order. Just a few and shooters will be at a premium.
If Hunter were to return, he could improve his 3-point shooting (30 percent last season), defense (a question mark because of the zone schemes) and physical strength (the biggest check against him right now).
He has nothing left to accomplish at Georgia State
Again, not completely true.
Yes, he has a lot of the school records.
But as magical as Georgia State’s season was, the Panthers won just one game in the NCAA tournament. There are lots of mid-majors that have won one game and then disappeared.
If Hunter were to return, Georgia State would be the odds-on favorite to win the Sun Belt and make it back to the NCAA tournament.
Making it back to the tournament would further Georgia State’s efforts to become a destination mid-major in the first steps of a Gonzaga or Wichita State.
Turning Georgia State from a school that had two appearances in the NCAA tournament in its history before he arrived, into one that could make it two in two years and be set up to make it year after year, would likely be R.J. Hunter’s true legacy.
Next year’s team will be loaded, should he return.
One of his best friends, Jeremy Hollowell, transferred from Indiana to Georgia State and is eligible next year. Isaiah Williams, who transferred from Samford, will be eligible. The team returns Markus Crider, T.J. Shipes, Kevin Ware, Jordan Session, Isaiah Dennis, Jaylen Brown and Jeff Thomas. It’s a team full of scorers and one that should make it back to the tournament.
He already has NBA intelligence
While true, as someone with a little bit of experience with continuing education, there’s always something else that can be learned no matter where you are or what you are doing.
Some of what he can learn, particularly on defense, would fall to coach Ron Hunter incorporating some man-to-man into his schemes.
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 this season, received $1.5 million.
That same range of money will be there next year, should Hunter return.
Plus, he will take out another insurance policy in case of injury, so he’s covered there.