Georgia State Basketball: 2018-19 preview for the Panthers

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NASHVILLE, TN – MARCH 16: Head coach Ron Hunter of the Georgia State Panthers talks with D’Marcus Simonds

Starting Five

The unquestioned leader of the Panthers is junior guard D’Marcus Simonds. The Gainesville, Georgia native had a breakout sophomore season which saw him average 21.2 points, which was 23rd best in the country, 4.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and the 6-3 Simonds was third on the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.7 per game.

The team also returns its other two double-digit scorers in seniors Devin Mitchell and Jeff Thomas. Mitchell is a 6-4 guard who began his career at Alabama before transferring to Georgia State. He too had a breakout season, scoring 12 points per game after averaging just four as a sophomore. Mitchell is a deadeye shooter who ranked 11th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, shooting 44.7%. Thomas is a 6-5 forward from Ohio who averaged 10.7 points and grabbed 4.3 rebounds a year ago. He is also the top shooter from a percentage standpoint among the key returners, shooting 47% from the field.

One of the two remaining starting spots should go to senior forward Malik Benlevi, who had a solid junior season averaging 9.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals in 2017. The only starting spot that needs to be filled is the one left by Jordan Sessions. If Hunter decides to go with someone similar to the 6-8 Sessions, the choice will likely be freshman Kavonte Ivery, who at 6-7 averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds at Stockbridge High School in Stockbridge, GA last season. Ivery joins the Panthers despite receiving offers from high-major schools like LSU and Texas A&M.

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