Georgia State Junior RJ Hunter has accomplished a lot in his first two seasons, but the talented wing is far from done. After numerous awards following his freshman season, including Kyle Macy All America Honors, CAA rookie of the year, All CAA First Team, and Lou Henson National Player of the Week honors, the 6’6 Hunter followed up with an even better sophomore season.
RJ averaged 18.4 points per game on the season, he was named an AP All-American Honorable mention, earned Sun Belt Player of The Year and All-Sun Belt first team honors along with Sun Belt All-Tournament team honors. Known for his sharp shooting, Hunter became the first Panther to knock down 100 three-pointers in a single season, 12 of those coming in a single game against USTA on December 22. Which were part of a larger effort, he poured in a career-high 41 points that outing. Hunter has been no stranger to filling it up as he reached the 1,000 career points mark in just 55 games at Georgia State, becoming the 2nd quickest to do so in program history. For RJ, it’s not all about the offensive end as he has racked up 116 steals in his two seasons at GSU, ranking him 9th in program history in that category.
RJ Hunter has already accomplished a lot in his two years at GSU, but after sitting down and talking with the very humble junior, he is constantly working to improve all aspects of his game. Including his leadership, which is widely over looked by most young players as they tend to focus more on their stats.
In the middle of a very busy summer, Hunter was nice enough to sit down and answer some of my questions. Ranging from his own game as well as the team and what they’re looking to accomplish in a season of high expectations. (RJ- RJ Hunter, Grant- the author of this post)
Grant: I’m sure this is a commonly asked question for you, but how is having your father as your head coach at the Collegiate level?
RJ: Having my dad as a coach is awesome, and each year it gets better as we both grow and reach new goals.
Grant: What was the best moment of your very accomplishing sophomore season?
RJ: The best moment from my sophomore season was definitely celebrating the regular season conference championship at the sports arena. We had a sold out crowd to celebrate with and we had a really cool presentation, we all knew that moment would go down in history.
Grant: What is a team goal for the Georgia State Panthers for this upcoming season?
RJ: A team goal for us this year is not only getting to the NCAA tournament, but actually winning games in the tourney. I know we have the talent to make a deep run and I can’t until March already.
Grant: How will the additions of transfers Jeremy Hollowell and Kevin Ware improve the program?
RJ: Jeremy and Kevin are two big time talents. It’s obvious how they will help, but also it allows other transfers to see what major talent is coming to GSU. That will only help with transfers and recruits in the future.
Grant: After attending multiple camps this summer, including the Kevin Durant Skills Academy (top 15 Collegiate wing players) and the Lebron James Skills Academy (top 30 Collegiate players), what was the most valuable thing you have learned from attending those elite camps?
RJ: The one thing I got from the camps was that at every single possession I have to compete at my highest level. If I can do that and my teammates do that, it will give our team a different edge. Then you add in talent, it will get scary.
Grant: What part of your game have you been working on most this summer?
RJ: I have been working a lot with getting stronger with the ball, ball handling, and getting used to being hit with contact often. Getting more comfortable with physicality will be big, as a lot of defenders like to press up on me.
Grant: There is a lot of talk about you being a top prospect in next year’s NBA Draft, how do you deal with that talk while trying to remain focused on the upcoming season at GSU?
RJ: I deal with that talk by not dealing with it at all. That is something that I will deal with down the road when it comes, and until then I’m focused and invested in Georgia State.
Grant: What is your favorite part of the whole college basketball experience?
RJ: My favorite part of college basketball is just being apart of it. Since I was a kid I always grew up around it with watching my dad’s team play and practice. Now to be apart of it is truly special and an experience that I will never forget.
Grant: This is a very much talked about subject in today’s collegiate sports, so I have to ask, how do you feel about whether or not collegiate athletes should be compensated with pay?
RJ: I haven’t really done enough research about college athletes being paid. I know it’s talked about a lot and I’ll let the experts discuss that as I know that it is out of my control.
Grant: Although you had a very successful sophomore season, there is always room for improvement, so what is your biggest goal this season as an individual?
RJ: As an individual I want to improve my leadership. You can always be a better leader and I think I am older and mature enough now to lead a team to heights no one has even thought of.
Well that wraps up my conversation with Georgia State’s RJ Hunter, again I’d like to thank RJ for taking the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions with me. To view highlights of RJ’s stellar sophomore season click here and if you’d like to keep up with him throughout the upcoming season you can follow him on Twitter @RJH_22 and on Instagram @hunter_games22 .