#120 Georgia State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Georgia State Panthers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #120
Conference Rank: #2 Sun Belt

Georgia State Team Page#120 Georgia State Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Georgia State Basketball Tickets

Not wanting to feel left out, the Georgia State Panthers decided to join the mass exodus from the Colonial Athletic Association and become a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Their final year in the CAA was not particularly pretty. They lost multiple games in a row five different times last season. But with a fresh conference comes a fresh start and things are looking up for the Panthers. With a number of transfers in the mix for playing time and everyone who is back, Georgia State looks to move from the middle of one conference to the top of another.

2012-13 Record: 15-16, 10-8
2012-13 Postseason: none
Coach: Ron Hunter
Coach Record: 37-28 at Georgia State, 311-247 overall

Who’s Out:
The reason expectations are high for this team is because nearly everyone from last year's squad is back, and then some. The only player of consequence who is gone from this roster is James Vincent. The senior center averaged just under five points and five rebounds per contest. But, more importantly, he was the Panthers' only rim protector, averaging over two blocks per game in under 24 minutes. Georgia State will need to find someone to replace his production and his minutes at the center position. None of the returning players really fit that bill.

Who’s In:
Other than their starting center, everyone else of note is back for this Panthers squad. The main contributors are R.J. Hunter, Devonta White and Manny Atkins. The three finished as the top three on the team in scoring, minutes, assists, steals...pretty much everything. Hunter was the team's leading scorer as a freshman. He had pretty solid shooting splits as well. If he can expand his repertoire, he will be a formidable player. White is the do everything point guard, the team facilitator who can still get his own points. And Atkins, a transfer from Virginia Tech, was masterful in his first season as a Panther. Each, along with the remaining returning Panthers, should be expected to make improvements in their game. Since there are really no recruits coming in who are expected to make a difference, the team's success will depend on how good these guys can become with another year under their belts.  The other player news revolving around an athlete who may not be suiting up for the Panthers is in regards to Ryan Harrow. The NC State then Kentucky now Georgia State transfer student is still awaiting a ruling from the NCAA on whether he will be eligible this season. He has transferred to the state to keep an eye on his ailing father but no decision has yet been made by the NCAA on whether he will be forced to sit out the season. If he is allowed to play, it will be a huge boon for GSU, as Harrow is an elite prospect who has simply not been able to find a fit at his previous stops.

Who to Watch:
With four of their starting five returning, someone will be expected to step up into that starting five in 2013-2014. That man will probably be rising sophomore Markus Crider. He played in every game last season as a freshman, but only started four times. Georgia State will be shifting to a smaller lineup with no true center if Crider moves into a starting role but he seems the most capable. After all, Atkins was the team's leading rebounder last year and Hunter, a guard, was the number two man in blocks behind James Vincent. Crider though showed flashes. He was outshined by fellow freshman Hunter but had a very good season nonetheless. Markus shot over 51 percent from the floor. His minutes really picked up too the second half of the season. If he makes it as a regular starter for this team, expectations will be high. But his production should pick up across the board whether he starts or not.

Final Projection:
There is no NCAA Tournament berth projected in this team's future. They will probably not win the conference outright. The most likely outcome for this season sees them having a better than .500 Sun Belt record and more overall wins than losses, which should be good enough for a postseason offer of some kind. However, the Sun Belt Conference has witnessed some unlikely conference tournament runs in recent years. It is not out of the realm of possibility that this team could make one of those runs through conference tournament play and into the Big Dance. They have the horses to do it; they have reliable scorers, a veteran team returning with a very experienced head coach on the bench. It seems possible, if a wee bit unlikely.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
R.J. Hunter, Sophomore, Guard, 17.0 points per game
Devonta White, Senior, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Rashaad Richardson, Junior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Manny Atkins, Senior, Forward, 14.2 points per game
Markus Crider, Sophomore, Forward, 3.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.2 (150th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.9 (182, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (139, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.6 (211, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (84, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.8 (80, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.2 (109, 5)
Rebound Margin: -1.9 (254, 10)
Assists Per Game: 11.7 (251, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (47, 2)


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews