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#TGW: Back in the Hunt

Sept. 10, 2015

By Jon Cooper | The Good Word

Life is looking up these days for Marcus Georges-Hunt.

Actually, life is looking up every day for the 6-5 senior guard from College Park because he finds a way to make sure it does.

Even during what was a very dark period, over the summer, when he was barely able to walk as he recovered from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot — an injury that kept him from playing with the two things he loves the most, his recently-turned-two-year-old son, Marcus, and his Yellow Jackets teammates — he never got down. He refused to. That’s just the way is.

“You have to keep your head up and stay positive,” said Georges-Hunt. “That’s one thing I’ve learned and I’ve been learning throughout this whole thing. Not saying I was negative [prior to the injury], but just even more positive. The more positive you are the more things are going to turn out better and you’re going to have a better outcome.”

His ‘When life gives you lemons make lemonade’ approach personified how he went about his rehab and may have led to a season-changing breakthrough.

Forced to sit out informal summer practices, Georges-Hunt took that seat and turned it into a tool to improve his game. He was inspired by an article shown to him by Tech Director of Operations Chris Jacobs about a player on the West Coast who dealt with a similar injury.

“Each day he would sit down in a chair and shoot, just working on his form and he cleaned up his form,” Georges-Hunt said. “The year he got back his shooting percentage went up tremendously. He was leading scorer and his three-point percentage went up and things of that nature. So I took that idea and I started shooting in a chair, too, and I feel like my shot has improved, just doing that, sitting there shooting over a thousand shots in a chair.”

Marcus felt the difference immediately.

“Once I got my boot off, I started form-shooting, just standing in one spot and I felt like that helped a lot,” he said. “So now, going into a jump shot, the only thing I’m missing is my rhythm, trying to get everything on point. I’ve been making a lot of shots trying to get back into my rhythm and my flow.

“There is no specific time. It’s really muscle memory,” he added. “I’ll know when my rhythm is back. That’s the big thing with [Head Coach Brian Gregory]. He’s just trying to get my rhythm back to my shot because my form looks pretty good.”

Georges-Hunt is as confident about getting back into basketball condition.

“Mike Bewley, our strength and conditioning coach, knows his stuff and he knows how great shape I was in before I left,” he said. “He said it shouldn’t take long to get me back to where I was. I’ve been wearing my heart-rate monitor and it doesn’t seem like I’m too far away from where I used to be, which is crazy being that I sat out five months. People would expect me to gain weight, lose touch or just lose my overall game but I haven’t gained any weight. I’ve actually gotten stronger, mentally and physically I’m ready for what’s to come.”

Mentally, there are no worries about the foot, only growing confidence as he regains his skill set.

“[There’s] no fear of landing on it. I’ve been taking a lot of jump shots. So I feel comfortable shooting the jump shot, jumping at my highest,” he said. “I haven’t tried to dunk yet but right now, I’m just focusing on the jump shot. I know I can still dunk but I just want to stay comfortable.

“I haven’t really focused on cutting yet. That’s the next stage,” he added. “Trying to get me to be able to do different cuts, different moves. That’s the step I’m trying to get to.”

A healthy and improved Georges-Hunt could take a big step forward in 2015-16. It’s the next step on the road he built in ‘14-15, which, before its sour ending on March 16 against North Carolina at McCamish Pavilion, saw him average 13.6 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 76.3 percent from the foul line and 5.50 rebounds per game and 39 steals, all career-highs.

His improved form could lead to an improvement in his three-point shooting, where last season he dipped below 33 percent (28.8) for the first time in three years on The Flats. He believes his new form and the presence of marksman Adam Smith and an improved Tadric Jackson will all contribute to that.

“Having those threats opens the floor a lot being that other teams will have to respect not just me but everyone else,” he said. “Being that Adam shoots the ball the way that he does, a lot of teams will have to have a guy chasing him all the time, which is one less guy, if I have the ball in my hands, that I have to worry about.

“People may say ‘Tadric Jackson can’t shoot’ after looking at his percentages last year but freshman year is a tough year, especially coming into the ACC,” he added. “Each game I learned something new and I grew from it. I think he’s going to be ready to shoot the ball because I’ve known him a long time and I know he can shoot the basketball. I feel like we have a lot of depth. Quinton Stephens can shoot the ball. We have a lot of pieces. There are going to be a lot of teams that can’t go deep into their bench like we can. So I think that’s where we’re going to have an advantage.”

Georges-Hunt also likes the improved physical play of upperclass bigs Charles Mitchell and newcomer Nick Jacobs, as well as youngsters, sophomore Ben Lammers and freshman Sylvester Ogbonda

“I plan on getting in there, too,” he said. “So there’s going to be a lot of physicality when it comes to rebounding.”

Georges-Hunt is hungry to gain respect for the Yellow Jackets and finish his career in style, on and off the court.

“Going out with a bang, that’s the goal,” he said. “It would be real big getting a third All-ACC Academic Team. That would be a big-time accomplishment, being that I’m trying to balance everything out, being a father, a student-athlete. That would be a big time award for my family. It’s not really for me. I give the credit to them for making me who I am. Going out All-ACC, Academic Team, trying to finish strong.

“Individual goals come with team success,” he added. “I’m not really focused on myself right now. I’m just trying to focus on what can I do to make my team better? How can I help my team get to where we want to get to as a team? I have big goals for us. I don’t really tell people. I keep them to myself. I wrote them down. I know what I want and I’m going to go out and get what I’m after.”

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