First football, now basketball: Tulane’s sports are on the rise — and it starts with coaching

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First football, now basketball: Tulane’s sports are on the rise — and it starts with coaching

Ron Hunter will take the helm of the Tulane basketball program as head coach this season.

Ron Hunter will take the helm of the Tulane basketball program as head coach this season.

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Ron Hunter will take the helm of the Tulane basketball program as head coach this season.

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Ron Hunter will take the helm of the Tulane basketball program as head coach this season.

Charles Lieberman , Contributing Reporter

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After a more than forgettable 2018-19 basketball season, Tulane hopes to bounce back and prove the naysayers wrong. After going 0-18 in conference and 4-27 overall, the Green Wave has obvious room for growth. And growth is what new coach Ron Hunter intends to achieve.

Beginning with the hire of Hunter, formerly the head coach of Georgia State, a significant culture change is taking hold. Known for his impressive accolades, including a career winning percentage of 58.6% and three coach of the year awards, Hunter may be just the person to lead Tulane in a winning direction. 

But Hunter did not just bring his glossy resume to the table he brought eight highly recruited signees and a fresh coaching staff along with him. Two recruits generating major buzz are graduate transfers Teshaun Hightower and K.J. Lawson, who played previously at highly respected schools in the world of college basketball: the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas, respectively.

Expect these two to be large contributors on a new roster that bears little in common to last year’s. 

Kevin Zhang, one of the few returning players, has also been generating attention for his off-season training in China where he was training daily with the Chinese National Team. Zhang described the experience as rewarding, as the competition was much more physical than he was accustomed to, allowing him to work on his “toughness and adapting to the physical part of the game.”

The Green Wave is preparing for its first matchup on Nov. 6 against Southeastern Louisiana, followed by its first conference match up on Dec. 30 at Memphis. To all those expecting similar outcomes as last year, Hunter and the rest of the team are not interested. “We have a better chance of me walking on Lake Pontchartrain for about a mile than us finishing last. That’s not going to happen. That’s not going to happen,” Hunter said. 

Let’s hope Hunter’s confidence provides a sufficient wake for the team to ride.