ATLANTA–Three years ago, R.J. Hunter was the toast of the town, after leading Georgia State to a signature upset of Baylor in the 2015 NCAA Tournament (Round of 64).
As a bonus, Hunter's game-winning triple from three-point range was enough to produce a viral video for the masses.
R.J.'s father, Ron Hunter, who doubles as Georgia State's head coach, fell off his on-court chair, while nursing an Achilles injury, as a means of spontaneously celebrating his son's accomplishment, along with the Panthers' second NCAA tourney victory in school history.
Fast forward to the present ... R.J. Hunter has returned to his collegiate roots in Atlanta, the result of signing with the Hawks on Friday.
R.J. Hunter had a two-way contract with the Houston Rockets last year, averaging 3.8 points in limited action (minus one start). With the Rockets' G-League affiliate (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Hunter averaged 20.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals, while shooting nearly 38 percent from beyond the arc.
Will Hunter end up a fixture with the Hawks? Only time will tell. But with training camp in the not-too-distant future, one can never discount the chances of pure shooters making an Atlanta club that promotes pace, space and long-range accuracy.
Hunter, a two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year with Georgia State, was a first-round selection with the Boston Celtics (28th overall) in 2015. He remains the Panthers' all-time leading scorer (1,819 points).