|Georgia State Panthers|
|University||Georgia State University|
|Head coach||Rob Lanier (1st season)|
|Arena||GSU Sports Arena |
|Student section||Concrete Jungle|
|Colors||Blue and White|
|NCAA Tournament Round of 32|
|NCAA Tournament Appearances|
|1991, 2001, 2015, 2018, 2019|
|Conference Tournament Champions|
|1991, 2001, 2015, 2018, 2019|
|Conference Regular Season Champions|
|2000, 2001, 2002, 2014, 2015, 2019|
|Conference Division Season Champions|
The Georgia State Panthers men's basketball team represents Georgia State University and competes in the Sun Belt Conference of NCAA Division I. They are currently led by head coach, Rob Lanier. The Panthers play at the GSU Sports Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
The Panthers play their home games at the GSU Sports Arena, located at 125 Decatur Street in the heart of the Georgia State campus. The facility was originally built in 1972 as a student gym and classroom space for physical education classes. The arena has a capacity of 3,854. The basketball court is named the Charles "Lefty" Driesell Court in honor of the former Panthers men's basketball coach. After the 2014-15 season, the center-hanging scoreboard was replaced with a four-sided hanging video scoreboard. Plans were released in 2012 to renovate the arena to turn the court 90 degrees, allowing for the court to be completely surrounded by seating with a new capacity of 5,000. These plans have since been abandoned in favor of a brand new arena adjacent to Georgia State Stadium, which was previously known as Turner Field.
In 2018, it was announced that an 8,000-seat arena and convocation center just south of Interstate 20 near the recently acquired Turner Field property was in the process of being developed. This new facility, which is expected to be completed in 2021, will house GSU basketball games and commencement ceremonies, as well as concerts, and conferences. The 200,000 square foot facility is expected to cost approximately $80 million.
In March 2014, work was started on a practice facility for the team as part of an incentive package at the request of head coach Ron Hunter. In April 2016, the facility was completed, slightly under its initial $1 million budget. The facility was built using an unused aquatics facility, with the court being built over the swimming pool after being filled in with concrete and padding. The court is named for Patty Ferrer and Cathy Henson, whose families were the main contributors to the project. The facility is shared between the men's and women's basketball teams, as well as the indoor volleyball team.
Prior to hiring Rob Lanier as head coach, the Georgia State Panthers men's basketball team was led by interim coach, Travis Williams. Most recently, Williams served as an assistant coach under Ron Hunter. Before that, Williams led a successful playing career for the Panthers- totaling over 1,000 career points before graduating in 1995. He also formerly led GSU as an assistant coach under Charles "Lefty" Driesell.
Coach Bob Reinhart coached the Georgia State Panthers men's basketball team from 1985 until 1994. In that time he managed 107 wins against 148 losses. He has the second most wins in Georgia State history (107), and is first all-time in tenure (9 seasons); his winning percentage (.420) places him fourth all-time. Reinhart, an Indiana native; spent his freshman college season at Kentucky Wesleyan College and then transferred to Indiana University and played basketball for Branch McCracken for two seasons at Indiana University. He was a high school teammate of All-American Roger Kaiser.
Reinhart was also named the Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club in 1990-91, leading the Panthers (16-15) to their first NCAA Tourney and again in 1994, when the Panthers finished 13-14. Reinhart was fired after the 1994 season and was replaced by his assistant and former player, Carter Wilson.
Charles "Lefty" Driesell first began coaching the Georgia State men's basketball team beginning at the 1997-98 season and staying for six years. He won 103 games and lost 59, giving a .636 win percentage. During his time coaching the Panthers, he won the 2000, 2001, and 2002 regular season conference title, the 2001 conference tournament, and advanced to the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Coach Rod Barnes, former Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year (2001), coached the Georgia State Panthers men's basketball team from 2007 until 2011. In that time, he managed 44 wins for 79 losses. At the end of the 2010-11 season, athletics director Cheryl Levick fired him with a year remaining on his contract.
On March 21, 2011, President Mark P. Becker and Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick announced Ron Hunter as the new head men's basketball coach at Georgia State University. Previously, Hunter spent 17 years as head coach at IUPUI. Known for his affiliation with Samaritan's Feet, a charity that donates shoes to children, Hunter brought with him a tradition of playing one game per season barefoot in an effort to raise awareness to his cause. Hunter inherited a team mostly put together by his predecessor, a lineup that had only managed 12 wins the previous season. With this team, he finished with a 22-12 record- which was just the ninth winning season the program had achieved since its inception in 1984. His son, R. J. Hunter, remained in Indianapolis to finish his high school career with his mother while Hunter coached in Atlanta. R. J. was actively recruited the elder Hunter to play at Georgia State, where he committed over Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Iowa. R. J. would eventually go on to become the school's all-time leading scorer while breaking many other offensive records.
Coach Hunter became the third Georgia State coach to take the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament during the 2015 iteration of the event. After beating Georgia Southern in the SBC Tournament, Coach Hunter tore his achilles tendon while running to his son R. J. Hunter in celebration, garnering attention from the media before their trip to the NCAA's. Due to his injury, Hunter was forced to coach in the NCAA Tournament from a rolling stool. After a dramatic comeback over the third seeded Baylor Bears capped by a deep three-pointer shot by his son, R. J., Coach Hunter fell off his stool in celebration. This resulted in a media firestorm resulting in multiple interviews, features, and a spot in "One Shining Moment" at the conclusion of the tournament. The Panthers would be eliminated from the tournament in the next round by Xavier.
After the 2018-2019 season, Ron Hunter had the most wins in Georgia State history (171) and guided GSU to six post-season berths in his eight seasons at the helm. Under Ron Hunter, GSU also won Sun Belt Conference titles in 4 of his last 6 seasons, which included regular season championships in 2014, 2015 & 2019 and tournament championships in 2015, 2018 & 2019. During Hunter's tenure, the program produced the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year three times; R. J. Hunter (2014, 2015) and D'Marcus Simonds (2018).
Rob Lanier, former associate head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, was hired as the latest head coach of the Panthers on April 5, 2019. His previous head coaching experience was with the Siena Saints where he led the team to the NCAA tournament in 2002, which included a first round win over Alcorn State. In 2003, Lanier guided Siena to the second round of the NIT after recording wins over Villanova and Western Michigan in the opening round and first round respectively.
Georgia State has been to the NCAA Tournament five times. Their combined record is 2-5.
|1991||#16||First Round||#1 Arkansas||L 76-117|
|W 50-49 |
|2018||#15||First Round||#2 Cincinnati||L 53-68|
|2019||#14||First Round||#3 Houston||L 55-84|
Georgia State has been to the National Invitation Tournament twice. Their combined record is 0-2.
|2002||Opening Round||Tennessee Tech||L 62-64|
|2014||First Round||Clemson||L 66-78|
Georgia State has appeared in two CollegeInsider.com Tournaments. Their combined record is 1-2.
|2017||First Round||Texas A&M-Corpus Christi||L 64-80|
Georgia State and Georgia Southern have met off and on since 1972 with the only significant break in the series coming between 1996 and 2009. While Georgia Southern leads the all-time series, Georgia State has won more games in the last 10 years. Home court advantage typically plays a major factor in this rivalry as the home team won every game from 1996 until 2019 (did not play between 1996 and 2009). That streak was broken on March 9, 2019 when Georgia State defeated Georgia Southern in Statesboro in a de facto regular season conference championship game by a score of 90-85. Georgia Southern defeated Georgia State 79-70 on February 28, 2020 in Atlanta. This game snapped the home winning streak for Georgia State going back to 1992. Since joining the Sun Belt Conference, Georgia State is 2-0 against Georgia Southern in conference tournament play.
Georgia Southern still holds a 37-23 series lead over the Panthers as of February 28, 2020.
The Panthers and the Ragin' Cajuns have only met 18 times in the history of their programs, but the game quickly evolved into a heated rivalry shortly after Georgia State re-joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013. Since 2013, the Panthers and Cajuns have combined for three regular season SBC championships and three SBC Tournament championships. Also since that time, GSU and ULL have led the conference in wins, respectively. Ron Hunter was 11-5 against Louisiana Coach, Bob Marlin, during his tenure with the Georgia State program.
After the second meeting of the 2019-2020 season, Georgia State holds a 13-7 lead over the Ragin' Cajuns.
Georgia State and Troy have met off and on since 1952. They began to play each other regularly while both teams were members of the Atlantic Sun Conference until 2005 when both members left. The two became conference mates again in 2013 when Georgia State joined the Sun Belt Conference.
Under Coach Ron Hunter, the rivalry remained a competitive match-up as the Panthers were just 7-8 against the Trojans during that time period. In fact, since Georgia State rejoined the Sun Belt, Troy has proven to be the Achilles' heel for the Panthers as they are the only conference foe they have failed to secure a winning record against.
One of the most memorable games of the series came when the Trojans famously upset the Panthers 85-81 on February 15, 2014 in a nationally televised game. This game was notable because it not only ended Georgia State's 14 game winning streak (the longest in school history), but would be the only game to tarnish the Panthers' otherwise perfect conference record during the 2013-14 regular season in which they finished 17-1.
Another memorable moment in the rivalry came during the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. At #2, the Panthers were the highest seeded team remaining in the tournament. With #1 seed UT-Arlington taking an early exit, the only teams standing between Georgia State and another berth in the NCAA tournament were #6 seed Troy and #4 Texas State. The Panthers had effectively secured the easiest path to the Championship and would be favored the rest of the way. At half-time, the Panthers held a 37-28 lead and appeared to be on their way to the conference finals. However, Troy ultimately seized the moment from the Panthers as they went on to win 74-63 in yet another shocking upset in the series.
After the second meeting of the 2019-2020 season, Troy holds a 27-20 edge over the Panthers.
Arena: GSU Sports Arena (3,854)
Arena: GSU Sports Arena (3,854)