Byington breaks down 4 key players in Georgia State vs. Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern coach Mark Byington said Georgia State’s Ryan Harrow and R.J. Hunter are an ACC-worthy guard tandem. (Photo courtesy of Georgia State)

Georgia State and Georgia Southern will tangle in a pivotal men’s basketball game on Thursday at Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro.

The Eagles lead the Panthers by one-half game in the race for the top two seeds in the Sun Belt Conference tournament in New Orleans. Georgia State will have eight conference games remaining after Thursday; Georgia Southern will have nine.

The game will feature four of the conference’s five best players, according to Panthers coach Ron Hunter.

Each coach gave a scouting report on his two best players, and two of the best players on the other team.

Hunter will provide his scouting reports on Thursday. Today, we will start with Georgia Southern’s Mark Byington:

Jelani Hewitt

Hewitt is a 6-foot-2 redshirt senior who is averaging 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals per game. He is hitting 39.1 percent of his shots, including 38.9 percent of his 3-pointers.

“Hewitt has a done good job of doing what the team needs. He’s very good on defense. He broke school steals record. Defensively he’s very good. Intelligent.

“Offensively, he’s capable of huge scoring nights. He can run off screens and get them in spurts.

“But the maturity of his game, he doesn’t get defined by scoring. He reads (defenses) and screens well, passes and makes plays. He makes a lot of plays that aren’t just scoring.”

Trent Wiedeman

Wiedeman is 6-foot-8 redshirt senior who is averaging 12.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and one block per game. He is hitting 51.1 percent of his shots.

“Wiedeman gives us a guy that when things are bad, we can go to him. He’s really improved his outside shooting. From 15 feet he’s very good. He can score on the block. Very intelligent and competitive. Anchors us on defense. He communicates well and is in the right spot.

“With those two, they have excelled in the leadership role.”

Ryan Harrow

Harrow is a 6-foot-2 senior who is averaging 20.6 points, 4.3 assists and 1.6 assists per game.

“Harrow, he’s the toughest guy in our league to guard when he has space. He’s extremely quick.

“He’s shooting well this year. That used to be a knock on him.

“He’s scoring in all different areas and he gets to the free-throw line. He scores everywhere on the court. No weakness in his offense.”

R.J. Hunter


is a 6-foot-5 junior who is averaging 20 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.85 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He is hitting 40 percent of his shots, including 30.8 percent of his 3-pointers. He is also hitting 84.6 percent of his free throws.

“Looking at R.J. Hunter, he’s an explosive scorer.

He’s labeled as a hooter, but he scores in all areas on the floor: He came come off screens, gets to the free-throw line a ton, in transition. They are both… they complement each other well.

“Even the other guys on the team benefit from the attention those guys gets. Those guys can have good nights if you just focus on those two.

“They would be a very good backcourt if they were in the ACC.”