Hobbled, hilarious Georgia State coach Ron Hunter the NCAA’s breakout star

A day after son R.J. Hunter drained a 3-pointer to stun Baylor and push his upstart Panthers to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament, Georgia State coach Ron Hunter and his team still were holding court on Friday in Jacksonville, Florida.

One concern was the unwieldy cast on Hunter’s Achilles, which was torn on Sunday after Georgia State learned it had made the Big Dance.

"Before the game (Thursday), they (doctors) had to saw off the top part of the cast because my knee started swelling up," Hunter said Thursday. "They had pliers and everything in there. I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ "

The cast took more than just a medical licking when coach Hunter famously toppled off his stool as son R.J. sunk the heroic game-winning three.

"I cracked the cast on the fall," Hunter said Friday. "I’m getting it re-cast. She said something about a saw," said Hunter, whose Panthers play sixth-seeded Xavier on Saturday in the third round.

Coach Hunter and No. 14 seed Georgia State have captivated a basketball-watching nation with his infectious enthusiasm and charm. 

On Thursday, Hunter even took President Obama to task for choosing Baylor over the Panthers in his bracket. 

Son R.J. (who acknowledged he has replayed his own game-winning play to down the third-seeded Bears on YouTube "I’d say roughly around 100 times") said he’s enjoyed the spotlight — and humor — his dad has brought the Georgia State program.

"He’s only adding to . . . we’ve got some more jokes now," R.J. said. "We’ve got him falling out — of the White House. There’s a Life Alert thing with him and his leg up. We have way more heat now, trust me."

The heat is not lost on father Ron. 

"The players are absolutely just killing me with all this right now," Ron Hunter said. "I’m rolling around in, not even a wheelchair, in a scooter that’s half broken. The thing I sat in yesterday, I have no idea what that little circle thing, that stool that I think you sit in if you’re typing something. Just been an interesting week, but I won’t trade this for the world. It’s been great."

Coach Hunter is looking to captalize on that heat when Georgia State faces Xavier on Saturday. He also has big plans if the Panthers down the Musketeers and advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.

"If we win Saturday, we’re going to bus to L.A. We’re going to be like the Partridge family," he said.