On Friday Jan 7, The College Park Skyhawks announced the acquisition of former Georgia State basketball star R.J. Hunter. The guard spent the last eight months competing overseas with the Turk Telecom of the Turkish Basketball Super League.
Ronald Jordan “R.J.” Hunter played three years of college ball at Georgia State University (2012-2015), before being drafted 28th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2015 NBA draft. While with the GSU Panthers, Hunter left a lasting impression with the program. Hunter was named Sun Belt Player of the Year twice and was honored as the Sun Belt Conference Male Athlete of the Year. Even though he only played three seasons, he still remains the GSU record holder for most career points (1,819), 3-pointers made (253), and free-throws made (448).
One of the most memorable moments Hunter left for Panthers fans was the deep 3-point buzzer-beater he nailed for a win in the second round of the 2015 NCAA tournament. That bucket led the upset of the #14 Georgia State Panthers over the #3 Baylor Bears. The win was nominated for the 2015 ESPY “Best Upset of the Year” award.
“It taught me how to marathon a season, because as we were getting better we were getting more expectations and pressure on ourselves from the outside.” Hunter said when asked about how the GSU programmed prepared him for professional basketball. “Just staying even keel throughout a rollercoaster season is what this business is for real and I had a few years of that and going through that, winning championships, losing championships taught me a lot.”
Before he was acquired by the SkyHawks, R.J. bounced around the NBA, G League and even spent some time with the Turkish Basketball Super League. Hunter has played with the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Long Island Nets, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Erie BayHawks before heading overseas in 2019. Hunter only had one practice with the SkyHawks under his belt before suiting up to play again in the familiar town.
“It’s the nature of the business. I’ve been in crazier situations than this. I kind of like it because you’re forced to focus more and trust yourself more and your instincts.” Hunter said.
He meshed well with his new teammates, given the circumstances, and finished the game with 11 points, five rebounds, and four steals in the College park SkyHawks 121-114 loss to the Delaware Blue Coats.
“With only one practice under his belt we wanted to make sure he got as much playing time, getting his legs under him…we want to get more time with him and get him acclimated with his teammates and the system. We had to kind of throw him in there today and I thought he did well, concerning the circumstances.” Head Coach of the College Park SkyHawks Noel Gillespie said.
“I was trying to scope our style of play and just kind of read and observe where I can fit in.” Hunter said.