ATLANTA — Georgia State, winner of the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship, is the unanimous selection to win the 2014-15 league title while leading scorer and 2013-14 Player of the Year junior R.J. Hunter earned distinction as the 2014-15 Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year, the conference office announced on Thursday.
Voting for the Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference Team and Poll was conducted by the league’s 11 head coaches.
The Panthers went 25-9 during the 2013-14 season, including a 17-1 mark in the Sun Belt to win its first conference championship since the 2001-02 season. Georgia State advanced to the Postseason NIT for the second time in program history.
Georgia State returns three starters from last year’s squad in Hunter, senior guard Ryan Harrow and senior forward Curtis Washington. Hunter and Harrow were named to the preseason first team while Washington earned preseason third team honors for the first time in his career.
Hunter earned the 2013-14 Player of the Year award after averaging 18.3 points per game and leading the conference with a school-record 100 3-pointers made (3.03 per game). He also earned A.P. All-America honorable mention recognition and was the Sun Belt Male Athlete of the Year for all sports.
Harrow was an All-Sun Belt First Team selection last season after averaging 17.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. Both Harrow and Hunter were named to the 2014 Sun Belt All-Tournament Team following Georgia State’s run to the tournament championship game.
Washington, in his first season with the Panthers, shot 65.6 percent from the floor last year, the second best mark in school history and tops in the Sun Belt. He averaged 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, blocking 78 shots, the third most in a single season in GSU history.
UL Lafayette was unanimously selected second in the poll with UALR coming in third. UT Arlington and Arkansas State rounded out the top five teams in the poll.
Following the format from last season, the top two teams at the end of the regular season will receive a double-bye into the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference championship in New Orleans, La., March 12-15.
Georgia State will open the regular season on Nov. 14, facing Tennessee Temple in the GSU Sports Arena. Three days later (Nov. 17), the Panthers will face No. 14 Iowa State in the first game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The game will air live on ESPNU at 9 p.m.
Less than 100 men’s season tickets currently remain available for purchase in the lower reserved section. Season ticket prices in the lower section start at $165 for the general public and $132 for faculty and staff (who receive a 20 percent discount).