Recon: Georgia State

UD Welcomes a Native Son

Recon: Georgia State

Ron Hunter, Dayton born and bred, returns to the Gem City for some retribution this weekend. Hunter, as you no doubt recall, was in the running for the throne that Archie abdicated before the sceptre was eventually handed over to Anthony Grant — you think UD got the two of them mixed up and offered the job to the wrong guy? Quite possible, they all look the same to you people. Anyway, Hunter is most well-known for falling to the floor after his son of questionable ethnicity nailed a three-pointer to win an NCAA tournament game against Baylor in 2015. Next to Saddam Hussein and Brooks from Shawshank Redemption, no one has received as much acclaim for collapsing off a stool.

Nevertheless, the Flyers have Anthony Grant and the Panthers retained Ron Hunter.

Georgia State is off to a rather auspicious start, currently 7-3 on the season– yet nary a hint of a decent win on the resume. That’s ok, we don’t judge other mid-majors harshly, lest we be judged as well. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t inform you that the Panthers are coming off a win against Point on Tuesday. Yes, Point University.

Hunter loves playing zone, he’s obsessed, so the Flyer’s preparation (shrug emoji) will be a significant factor. GSU’s defense has been their calling card so far this season, the Panthers make you work for every shot. State is forcing a turnover on damn near 25% of their opponents possessions, UD’s defensive turnover rate is around 19% for those of you scoring at home. Prepare to see the Flyers put up a lot of threes, the Panthers pack it in defensively and let their challengers fire freely from the three-point line.

D’Marus Simonds (20.9 ppg/5.3 rpg/4.8 apg) is GSU’s top dog, the 6’3″ sophomore is the reigning Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. Hunter believes, nay demands, that Simonds will one day play in the NBA. All of this praise can only mean one thing — Simonds will be a major get on the transfer market this spring, so let’s make a good impression Phlyer Phans. Simonds will get up plenty of shots against UD, plenty of easy looks, so look for him to rack up 25+ tomorrow afternoon. 6’4″ junior Devin Mitchell joins Simonds in the Panther starting backcourt. Mitchell (10.6 ppg/40% 3fg) jacks up a lot of threes and is a streaky shooter, so go ahead and mark him down for a career game.

Hunter put two solid deep threats at the wings, 6’5″ juniors Jeff Thomas and Malik Benlevi. Thomas (7.8 ppg/4.9 rpg)  is the more well-rounded of the two, capable of putting the ball on the floor and chipping in on the bankboards (h/t Bucky Bockhorn). Benlevi (12.8 ppg/6.5 rpg/51% 3fg) is the squad’s best defender, best athlete and best friend. He is shooting the ball incredibly well right now, let’s hope Grant rolls out the soft zone again just so we can see how many shots in a row Benlevi can hit. 6’8″ senior Jordan Session is State’s starter in the middle. Session (5.9 ppg/5.0 rpg) isn’t an offensive threat, nor is he a defensive stalwart. He is essentially a guy that takes up space and tries to get out of the shower first, we can all relate.

Isaiah Williams, Kane Williams and Jordan Tyson are the boys off the bench. Isaiah Williams (5.2 ppg/36% 3fg) is a decent option off the pine, a solid shooter from the perimeter who bizarrely transferred out of Samford after being named the Freshman of the Year in the Southern Conference. Not that Samford is the tits, but leaving a comfortable situation for what amounts to a risky lateral move makes no sense to me. Bad move, Isaiah. Kane Williams, not related, is Hunter’s highest recruit yet (not counting the seed that sprouted from his sack). Williams (5.3 ppg/2.0 rpg) hasn’t figured out what he does well on the college level yet, we’ve all been there. Jordan Tyson is a Saint Bonnie transfer, I asked FOB The Bona Blog for their take on Tyson’s ability:

  • Xeyrius Williams will apparently be back for the Georgia State game. This should be a good thing.
  • Matej Svoboda was on the floor for the last thirteen minutes of the Penn game. *walks away from the computer to clean his head*
  • Much has been made of the fact that Anthony Grant (a) not only wears three-button suits, but (b) buttons the top two buttons. I found this take from a reputable source: “The three-button suit comes with a simple rule: “sometimes, always, never.” It means you should sometimes fasten the top button (if you feel like it), always fasten the middle button, and never button the third.” So there you go.
  • I thought UD would struggle to protect the ball with freshmen and DURRELL as the primary ball handlers. It’s actually been worse than I anticipated. Which team in the A10 has the worst turnover percentage?

WHELP.

Here’s the thing, we have no clue who wins this one, isn’t that exciting? On paper, your Flyers are the clear favorites. Although the Sweater Centre hasn’t been as hospitable as in years past, UD is coming off of back-to-back losses at the Arena (which last happened back in the 2014 season), I’m not sure GA State has enough offensively to punish the Flyers for their head coach’s bizarre and often bewildering decisions. This likely won’t be a shootout, I’m guessing Dayton gets the victory, 66-59. DURRELL is going to be salivating when he first comes up the court against GSU’s zone, I’d expect Mr. Davis to have a good day scoring the ball.

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Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o’ D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.

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