Who will be the 8 for Georgia State vs. Ole Miss?

Yes, Ron Hunter is able to stand up and move around again after tearing his Achilles tendon while celebrating the Sun Belt tournament championship. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The Georgia State men’s basketball team will play at Ole Miss on Wednesday.

But who, exactly, will coach Ron Hunter play?

He has said after wins over Middle Georgia State and Emmanuel that he is going to get down to an eight-man rotation. It’s what he has typically used.

In fact, in games against “quality” opponents early in past seasons, he has sometimes just used seven players.

Hunter said after last week’s win over Emmanuel that he knows that he, Jeremy Hollowell (or Jeremy Hunter as he called him after his big game; will it be Jeremy Holmes if he plays poorly?) and Kevin Ware will be on the bus to Oxford.

“Every single game the leash will get shorter and shorter,” Hunter said. “A lot of that has to do with who starts. We’re trying to figure this all out.

“Who is ready right now?”

Hunter has changed the starting lineup for the first two games: Isaiah Dennis, Ware, Hollowell, Crider and Jeff Thomas started the first game. Dennis and Thomas were exchanged for Isaiah Williams and Jordan Session in the third game.

Hunter said after last week’s win over Emmanuel that he may change the lineup again against the Rebels, which have three players who are 6-foot-9.

If Ware and Hollowell are locks, that leaves three more starters and six more players out of a likely group of seven to make up the Hunter Eight. (Those out, I’m guessing, are Jalen Brown, Austin Donaldson, Carter Cagle and Alario Harris).

Hunter likes to have three guys who can score on the court at the same time, and he said he likes having T.J. Shipes coming off the bench, so I think the starting lineup may actually be the same as against Emmanuel: Williams, Ware and Hollowell are the scorers, with Crider and Session in for defense and rebounding.

As for the player who may see his minutes cut, I’m guessing that Thomas, who has struggled with his shot, may be that guy. He has made just one of his 12 shots and Hunter said after the Emmanuel game that he rushed him too soon and needs to manage his minutes better.

“If Jeff had practiced last year, I would give him more leeway,” Hunter said. “Right now, he’s just getting his legs.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hunter press conference without some sort of contradictory statements (not a jab, just a fact), because he then said that Thomas needs 15-20 minutes per game, as does freshman Malik Benlevi, who has played 26 minutes this season.

Of course, if the Panthers are trying to rally and need 3-pointers, Hunter may turn to Thomas. He has a pretty stroke and his teammates rave about his shooting accuracy in practice, it just hasn’t happened in a game yet.

It would seem that Dennis might be a fit for a guy whose minutes will be cut because he doesn’t bring much on offense, but he is very good at defense and Hunter already said that he is going to be guy to “drive the car” this season. Hunter then benched him the next game (see, contradictory….). Hunter explained the change by saying the timing in the offense is off and compared it to playing with a new quarterback.

What is a fact is Hunter won’t play more than eight.

Looking at last year’s quality non-conference games, Hunter played just seven against Iowa State (three guys got two minutes each), eight against Colorado State, eight against Old Dominion, seven against Southern Miss (Session played six minutes, but that’s not enough to count him as eight) and seven against Baylor. He did break form and play nine against Xavier.

Who do you think the eight will be for the game at Ole Miss?


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