“Transfer U”

Markus Crider, Kevin Ware, and Jeremy Hollowell are all transfers during the coach Hunter era. Photo by Jason Luong | The Signal
Markus Crider, Kevin Ware, and Jeremy Hollowell are all transfers during the coach Hunter era. Photo by Jason Luong | The Signal
Markus Crider, Kevin Ware, and Jeremy Hollowell are all transfers during the coach Hunter era.
Photo by Jason Luong | The Signal

The Georgia State men’s basketball program has become a destination for players who are transferring and looking for a fresh start.

The Panthers have reeled in multiple high profile transfer players from major programs. This has led to the Panthers becoming a perennial contender in the Sun Belt and has supplemented the program that also develops young players well.

The Panthers have their share of home grown talent also. Players like R.J. Hunter, Ryann Green and Devonta White were all players that head coach Ron Hunter recruited and nurtured until they were ready to play the major roles that they all eventually would for the Panthers.

The Panthers, as a mid-major program, have been competitive over the last few years in large part due to supplementing the young talent with older, more experienced players that were at school in the big power five conferences across the country.

This supplementing of talent allowed coach Hunter to have the luxury of letting players develop and learn the ropes before being thrust into duty before they may have been ready for the spot.

This trend of bringing in high profile transfers started with Manny Atkins in 2012, when Atkins transferred from Virginia Tech and started all 31 games in that season.

The Panthers made a huge splash when then Kentucky point guard Ryan Harrow decided to move closer to home and joined the team in 2013 and almost led the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament in his first season with the Panthers.

Harrow was an All-Sun Belt selection for the Panthers before signing a contract to play professionally for Rethymno in Greece.

The same season the Panthers also picked up Curtis Washington from the University of Southern California.

Washington became a mainstay in the starting lineup for the Panthers for the next two seasons before signing to play professionally for Instituto in Argentina.

Harrow practiced with the national championship team at Kentucky in the 2011-2012 season, sitting out the season after transferring to Kentucky from North Carolina State.

The trend would continue even further with the addition of Kevin Ware, a member of Louisville’s national champion team in 2013. Ware came on strong for the Panthers at the end of last season and looks to be a key component for the 2015-2016 team.

There is now a new batch of transfers that have made their way to Georgia State that figure to play big roles for the Panthers just as the earlier transfers before them have.

The New Guys

The new transfers are Jeremy Hollowell and Isaiah Williams.

Hollowell comes to Georgia State from Indiana where he played two seasons with the Hoosiers. Hollowell was one of the top 50 prospects in the 2012 class coming out of high school.

In his two season at Indiana, he averaged 2.8 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game as a freshman and 5.7 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Hollowell finds himself at Georgia State, being counted on to play major minutes as he has slotted into the starting lineup early in this season after sitting out last season due to transfer rules.

The need for a change of scenery and the need to focus on his craft is what brought Hollowell to the Panthers.

“I just needed a fresh start. I let some of the wrong things distract me. And I just thought it would be best to get a change of scenery,” Hollowell said.

Hollowell also knew the relationship he already had with the Hunter family drew him to Georgia State as well.

“I knew coming here the relationship I had with R.J. [Hunter] and coach Hunter and the Hunter family, I knew that would really help me out, taking a year off. I even have family out here, so it was a good year off, I learned a lot and I’m ready to get back out here now,” Hollowell said.

Hollowell’s relationship with coach Hunter also has pushed him to grow as a player since joining the team last season while sitting out.

“I’ve known coach Hunter a long time. He still believes in me. A lot of people still believe in me and he knows what I’m capable of,” Hollowell said.

Isaiah Williams is a point guard that transferred after the 2014 season, where he won the Southern Conference freshman of the year award at Samford.

Williams is looking to play some key minutes at the point guard position for the Panthers after gaining experience as a freshman. Williams admits that adjusting to the system has taken some time.

“In my year at Samford I kind of already got the feel for college basketball and all so basically I just have to get used to the system here. Because the system from Samford and here are different so, I just got to get used to the system,” Williams said.

This is a problem that could arise and make the method of building with transfers difficult, but so far so good. This is because players are encouraged to get time on the court together before the season ever starts.

“Basically for us to hoop with each other during the summer so we get chemistry so when the season starts we’ve already got a feel for each other,” Williams said.

The players also live in an era where communication is not limited by how far away someone is. Players stayed in contact using social media and building chemistry that way.

Williams and Hollowell had even crossed paths prior as opponents in 2013-2014 when Samford played against Indiana.

“I actually played against Jeremy [Hollowell] when I was at Samford. But during the summer we all communicated through Twitter and all that and we all got along just fine,” Williams said.

The Panthers have filled holes the last few seasons with older transfer players so that younger players could grow and develop to take over later. This method has been successful and has paid off as the Panthers now have a deep roster blended with talented youth and experience.

The 2015-2016 season will be one to remember as the new and old blend together to form one of the Sun Belt’s finest rosters.