Georgia State Panthers
2018-19 record: 24-10, 13-5 in the Sun Belt
Head coach: Rob Lanier
Tenure at Georgia State: 1st season
Career coaching record: 58-70
Home court: Georgia State University Sports Arena
Starters: G Corey Allen, G Kalik Brooks, F Chris Clerkley, F Kavonte Ivery, C Joe Jones III
Bench: F Josh Linder, F Eliel Nsoseme, G Nelson Phillips, G Justin Roberts, F Jalen Thomas, G JoJo Toppin, G Kane Williams, G Damon Wilson
Overview: In recent years Georgia State has taken over the Sun Belt and has started to become a perennial presence in the NCAA tournament. Winning the last two Sun Belt Conference championships and making three March Madness appearances since 2015, the Panthers are a team on the rise. This offseason, they replaced the entire coaching staff, including head coach Ron Hunter, who had a falling out with the university and left for Tulane. The new head coach is Rob Lanier, who has worked as associate head coach for esteemed programs like Tennessee, Texas and Florida.
The Panthers lost their top four scorers from the 2018-19 season, including guard D’Marcus Simonds, who declared for the NBA Draft but went undrafted. After losing a strong core, Georgia State will have to restore their depth chart. Unfortunately, the Panthers have come up short in recruiting. Their most promising freshman is three-star forward Jalen Thomas, who will be a valuable contributor but may not be able to bring the team back to last year’s level. Georgia State will likely still be dominant in the Sun Belt, but it is up for debate whether they can compete with the rest of the NCAA.
One thing that needs to go right: The freshmen recruits, especially Jalen Thomas, put up strong enough offensive numbers to fill the hole that last season’s departures left.
One thing that could go wrong: No returning players step into a leadership role, which results in a fragmented and directionless team.
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