Coach Hunter uses a modern approach to recruiting

All it takes is watching Ron Hunter coach once and it becomes evident he is a unique college basketball coach.

From his fierce, explosive coaching style from the bench, to coaching a game barefoot once a year for charity, Hunter is not afraid to push boundaries and move the game forward.

Hunter’s unique approach extends into his recruiting where he has developed a modern approach to his system: banking off the increasing number of transfers in college basketball.

Just in this offseason alone, Hunter has picked up two major transfers: Kevin Ware from Louisville and Jeremy Hollowell from Indiana University.

Hunter has been able to pick up top transfers each offseason to build his team, such as Kentucky’s Ryan Harrow last year, and Curtis Washington and Manny Atkins, who transferred in 2012 from USC and Virginia Tech, respectively.

They key to Hunter’s approach is building relationships with top prospects coming out of high school even though he knows the recruit won’t choose to go to Georgia State.

“No matter how long I’m here at Georgia State, the top 10 player in the country— if he’s in the state of Georgia—he is not going to Georgia State,” Hunter said. “But we can continue to recruit that young man.”

Hunter said he hopes that if it does not work out at the school the player chooses, they will remember Georgia State back home. That is exactly what drew Harrow and Ware back to Georgia State.

Focusing on transfers has become Hunter’s dominant approach to recruiting, despite critics who see it as lazy recruiting or speculate that he cannot recruit recent high school graduates.

Hunter thinks otherwise. He believes coaches who do not focus on the expanding transfer market in sports are making a mistake for their program, especially at an urban institution like Georgia State.

Hunter mentioned the 400-plus athletes who are transferring this year and how it is an expanding market that will only continue to grow.

“If you don’t get into that market, you’re going to fail,” he said.

In the state of Georgia, nearly 65 percent of high school athletes transfer at some point in their careers, according to Hunter.

“If they’re transferring in high school, then guess what, they’re probably going to transfer when they get to college,” Hunter said.

He said there is nothing wrong with this new trend of college athletes seeking to gain opportunities at other schools if they choose to.

“I transfer jobs, the presidents of the universities transfer jobs–that’s what we do,” Hunter said. “So we criticize a young man for transferring, but as an adult, if we leave our situations to transfer to something we feel is better, why is it a difference?”

“Coach Hunter knows what he’s doing. He cares about his players more than just on the court,” said Washington, thinking back on when he transferred to Georgia State.

“He’s got a way with words, but you can’t fake winning. You can’t fake success, and that’s what we are here, a program of success.”

Washington said showing transfers the program’s success and how he can contribute to future success is Hunter’s best recruiting tactic.

Hunter’s tactics seem to be working for his team as he led the Panthers to being the outright Sun Belt champions in their first year in the conference last season.

Now, the team, mixed with newcomers and veterans, will try and build off that recent success and, this time, let it carry them to the NCAA tournament.