CAA Team Previews: Georgia State Panthers
Last Season Record: (22-12, 11-7) 6th in the CAA
Key Losses: 6-5 G Jihad Ali. In his strong senior campaign last season, Ali averaged 12.5 points 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 assists a night for the Panthers. The former team captain was named to the All-CAA Third Team and the CAA All-Academic First Team in 2011-2012. Another departed senior, 6-7 F Eric Buckner, will also be missed. The defensive stopper averaged 10.8 Points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 blocks a contest while shooting an outstanding 62% from the field. Buckner also was rightfully named to the 1st Team All-CAA Defensive team and also 3rd Team All-CAA last year.
Key Additions: 6-10 F Curtis Washington. The lanky sophomore transferred to Georgia State University from University of Southern California in the offseason. The Panthers are hoping Washington can use his length and athletic ability to become a defender of Buckner’s caliber.
Coach: Despite entering only his second season as the Panthers Head Coach, Ron Hunter has experience beyond his years. Before coming to Georgia State, Hunter was the head coach at IUPUI for 17 seasons. He led the Jaguars to its first ever (and only) NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003. Last season, Hunter guided Georgia State to 22 wins, the second most in school history, and help the team advance to its fourth-ever postseason appearance.
Player to Watch: 5-10 G Devonta White. After an injury plagued freshman season, White averaged 12.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists a night last season in his 2011-2012 sophomore campaign. White led the team in scoring last season and started 33 of the team’s 34 games. Heading into his junior season, White looks to lead the team yet again this season and in an even great scoring role.
Prediction: Technically, Georgia State will be in the CAA and play a league schedule this year, but the Panthers are not eligible for the CAA Tournament. In a move more revolved around the school’s football program, GSU will be joining the Sun Belt conference in 2013. If the Panthers want to compete in any postseason play, it will have to be in the NCAA, NIT or CBI tournaments. With that being said, Georgia State could use this as motivation, but it is unlikely they will receive an invitation to a postseason tournament. However, The Panthers should finish in the top 5 of CAA conference play.