What You Need to Know:
* Georgia State officially began practice for the 2017-18 season on Thursday.
* The Panthers will open the regular season on Nov. 10, hosting Carver Bible College, before a four-game stretch on the road in the MGM Grand Main Event.
* Georgia State has won 20 or more games in three of the last four seasons.


ATLANTA—Coming off a fourth-straight winning season, the Georgia State men’s basketball team officially opened practice and preparations for the 2017-18 season on Thursday. It was the first official day teams could practice and gave the Panthers just over one month to prepare their first exhibition game on Nov. 2.

Georgia State finished last year 20-13 and advanced to postseason play for the fourth time in six years under head coach Ron Hunter. The Panthers finished in second place in the Sun Belt Conference last season, marking the third time in four years finishing in the top two.

“Our guys are really excited to get the season going,” Hunter said. “We had a really good offseason and our older guys have stepped up on and off the court to become leaders of this team.

“I’m equally excited about our young guys. Our freshmen are a talented group who wants to learn and get better every day. There is a ton of upside with those guys.”

The team finished up a morning practice and will return to the court on Friday evening.

Among the returners is Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year D’Marcus Simonds who averaged 13.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, making 22 starts in his first year. He is joined by returners Malik Benlevi, Jeff Thomas, Devin Mitchell, Isaiah Williams, Jordan Session, Chris Clerkley and Nile Felton who will look to win 20 or more games for the fourth time in five years.

Georgia State enters the season as the most successful in the state over the last four years. The Panthers have won 86 games since the start of the 2013-14 season, the most of any NCAA Division I program in Georgia.

The Panthers will open the season on Nov. 2, hosting Lees-McRae College in an exhibition game at 7 p.m., in the GSU Sports Arena. Following the regular season opener on Nov. 10, the Panthers will play at Rice and at Ole Miss to open the MGM Grand Main Event before traveling to Las Vegas.

Notes:

  • All Georgia State regular season home games will air live on ESPN3. Sam Crenshaw and former Panther Rodney “Truck” Turner will return for a second-straight year to call the games.
  • Georgia State’s game at Georgia Southern has been moved to Feb. 16 and was picked up by ESPN2 earlier this week. The game will air live before a national audience at 9 p.m. ET.

Georgia State will play 13 home contests this winter at the GSU Sports Arena. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit GeorgiaStateSports.com/Tix.