Ron Hunter serves as guest analyst for NCAA tournament

Photos by Kleveland Bishop and Panther Report.
Photos by Kleveland Bishop and Panther Report.
Ron Hunter (Left) and son R.J. Hunter (Right) during NCAA Tournament in Florida. Photo by Kleveland Bishop and Panther Report I GSTV

The country just cannot get enough of Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter.

On Wednesday, March 25, it was announced that the Panthers’ basketball coach would serve as a guest analyst for CBS and Turner Sports’ coverage of Sweet 16 NCAA basketball tournament games the following Thursday and Friday.

Georgia State was eliminated from the tournament when they lost on March 21 to the Xavier Musketeers by a final of 75-67.

“The last two weeks have been a great experience for the entire Georgia State community. I was honored that the group at Turner Sports and CBS called and are giving me this opportunity,” Hunter said, according to a Georgia State press release on Wednesday.

Coverage for both days of the Sweet 16 matchups began at 6 p.m. The tournament games were broadcast across two networks: CBS and TBS.

Hunter joined veteran sports studio media personalities Ernie Johnson, Sr., Seth Davis and Steve Smith from Turner Sports’ studios in Atlanta.

They were also joined by another guest on Thursday before the national audience: Ron Hunter’s son and Panthers junior point guard R.J. Hunter.

Ron and R.J. Hunter were both introduced at the same time as they entered Turner Sports’ studio on Thursday evening. After a highlight reel was shown featuring the Panthers’ run in the NCAA tournament, Georgia State’s coach was asked how much the win over Baylor meant not only to his team but to his family.

He said to Turner Sports on Thursday that it is a blessing to coach but that there is no greater blessing than being a father.

In the same segment, R.J. Hunter was also asked about how much the opportunity to play for his father played a role in his decision to come to Georgia State.

“At the end of the day, who am I to put being in the spotlight over family?” he said on TBS.

That Thursday, he was also asked by Seth Davis on where he is in his decision to either enter the NBA Draft or come back to the Panthers for his senior year. Georgia State’s star junior guard said that he goes back and forth between both possibilities regularly but that it will be a “win-win” for him either way.

“I’m trying to decide quick because just dragging it on doesn’t do any good for anybody,” he said.

His father and head coach said that the feeling is unique given that it is family.

“We talked about it today,” Ron Hunter said that Thursday. “It’s so surreal because it is my son.”

Toward the end of the opening segment of the pregame show on TBS, Coach Hunter also was asked about the difference in his team’s mindset between this season and last season.

“I’m a big believer that you’ve got to go through something to make something good happen,” Hunter said.

He mentioned that his 2014 team had not experienced a lot of adversity, having won 17 of 18 Sun Belt games — until last season’s championship game when the Panthers lost a big lead to Louisiana-Lafayette and the game to be denied an NCAA tournament berth.

Hunter said that his team had to go through the pain of the loss in order to rebound and win the conference this year to earn a place in this year’s tournament.

Both Hunters became national sensations after Georgia State’s come-from-behind victory over the three-seeded Baylor Bears in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Panthers were behind 56-44 before embarking on a 13-0 run, culminating in R.J. Hunter’s making a long game-winning three, sending Georgia State to the third round of the tournament vs. eventual opponent Xavier.

The made three-pointer became one of the signature moments of the tournament along with Ron Hunter falling out of his chair that he was coaching from during the game.

Hunter needed the chair as he was coaching with a torn Achilles which he injured in Georgia State’s championship celebration after winning the Sun Belt tournament.

Turner Sports representatives were not available for comment.

Results of Sweet 16 Games

Notre Dame defeated Wichita State, 81-70
Wisconsin defeated North Carolina 79-72
Kentucky defeated West Virginia 78-39
Arizona defeated Xavier 68-60
Louisville defeated North Carolina State 75-65
Gonzaga defeated UCLA 74-62
Duke defeated Utah 62-57
Michigan State defeated Oklahoma 62-58