Meet the new faces of Georgia State’s football and basketball teams

Georgia State football team run drills during a practice at the GSU football practice facility. Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

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The 2017-18 school year will feature a lot of novelty across the athletic department, players and coaches included. Last season saw the football team take a huge step back after making major improvement the year before, and that led to some massive changes. The program decided it was time for a facelift and cleaned house, beginning with the head coach.

Trent Miles, the head coach of Georgia State for four seasons, was fired in November. The new head coach of Georgia State is Shawn Elliott, formerly the O-Line coach at South Carolina. He has a very accomplished coaching career, including 19 winning seasons, 16 of which included postseason play.

Along with a new head coach, the football team has an entirely new coaching staff only returning the head strength coach, Scott Holsopple.

With new faces on the football staff, there will be a lot of new faces on the basketball team. The Panthers graduated four seniors from last year’s 20-13 squad: the team’s starting center, Willie Clayton, Carter Cagle, Isaiah Dennis, and the team’s leading scorer, Jeremy Hollowell. They are also losing Austin Donaldson, who is transferring to Clark Atlanta University.

It’s no easy task replacing five players, but the Panthers have an excellent recruiting cycle which will make it a lot easier.

They are bringing in three true freshmen: Josh Linder, Denis Alibegovic, and Kane Williams. Josh Linder is a 6’8 forward from Kathleen, Georgia. Denis Alibegovic is a 6’4 guard of Bosnian descent from Illinois and is the definition of a sharpshooter. He led his entire conference in scoring and broke his school’s record for three-pointers made. Kane Williams is a 6’5 combo guard from South Paulding High School in Douglasville, Georgia. He is ranked as the 24th best player in Georgia. Along with signing three freshmen this recruiting period, Georgia State was once again big players in the transfer market like they usually are.


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The Panthers added graduate transfer Basil Smotherman from Perdue, a 6’6 forward who shot 55 percent from the field last season. The latest and final transfer they added is Damon Wilson from Pittsburg University. Because of transfer rules, Wilson will not be able to play this season but expect him on the floor for the 2018-19 season.

With all the new faces across basketball and football, the Panthers are in for an exciting school year. The football team will be looking to bounce back from a terrible season with a new head coach and coaching staff.

Coach Elliott will be looking to bring the sustained success he had at South Carolina over to Georgia State. The basketball team, on the other hand, will be looking to build off a solid season and improve. It will be a tough task replacing all the old faces, but Coach Hunter is in a good position with reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, D’Marcus Simonds, who also was second on the team in scoring and all the new faces coming in.

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