2020/21 Georgia State Men’s Basketball Season Recap

2020/21 Georgia State Men’s Basketball Season Recap

Final record: 16-6, 8-4 in Sun Belt Conference

Postseason: None (Lost to Appalachian State in Sun Belt tournament final)

Major accomplishments: 123-120 4OT win at Georgia Tech on 11/25/20, 1st-place finish in the Sun Belt East Division

Coach Rob Lanier’s record at GSU: 35-19 after two seasons

  • 93-89 in his head coaching career

Team Stats (Ranking in the Sun Belt out of 12):

  • PPG: 80.3 (1st)
  • Opponent PPG: 72.7 (11th)
  • FG%: 46.8% (1st)
  • Opponent FG%: 41.3% (3rd)
  • 3P%: 35.8% (4th)
  • Opponent 3P%: 33.8% (6th)
  • FT%: 68.5% (11th)
  • Rebound margin: +0.5 [37.5 – 37.0] (9th)
  • Assists per game: 16.8 (1st)
  • Turnovers per game: 11.6 (1st)
  • Turnovers forced per game: 14.7 (4th)

Player-by-Player Breakdown:

Senior G Corey Allen: 15 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 apg in 22 games

Corey led the Panthers in scoring, in 3P%, in number of three-pointers made (62) and in FT%, as he improved on his 13.5 ppg output in his first season playing for Georgia State in 2019/20. He was a consistent scoring option for the team this season, never scoring less than 8 in a game but never scoring more than 22. Corey was honored for his strong contributions by being named to the All-Sun Belt Second Team at the end of the season. 

Update: Corey has publicly announced he will return for his Super Senior year granted by the NCAA and play for the Panthers in 2021/22:

Junior G Justin Roberts: 13.2 ppg, 4.7 apg, 35% 3FG in 22 games

Justin’s second season as a Panther mirrored a lot of his first, with a few improvements that helped round out his game. Justin’s distribution to the likes of Corey Allen in the corner and Jalen Thomas at the elbow helped improve his assist numbers from 3.6 assists per game to a team-leading 4.7 per game this year. The junior guard was excellent inside the perimeter, shooting 50% on his 2-point FG attempts on the season. 

Justin opened the season with a career-high 26 points in the Panthers 4OT win against Georgia Tech and had his first double-digit assist performance, tallying 10 in the Panthers’ win against Carver College on December 18th. 

Senior G Kane Williams: 12.9 ppg, 4 apg, 1.5 spg in 21 games

Kane had an uneven shooting year, making just 36% of his shots – a career low mark – but still averaged double figures in points for the third straight season. He also served as a leader in the huddle as one of the team’s seniors and provided for his teammates as a distributor, with the fifth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the Sun Belt (86 assists to 47 turnovers). 

Kane is now in the top 10 all-time in career scoring at Georgia State with 1,227 points, moving into the #10 spot – and sliding past Kevin Morris, Zavian Smith and Nate Williams in the process – with his 18-point performance in the loss to Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship. Kane is also the all-time leading free throw taker in school history – making the second-most from the charity stripe (behind Panther great RJ Hunter) – and he sits in fourth place all-time in steals and assists. 

Update: Like Corey Allen, Kane has announced he will use his extra year of eligibility and play one more year with Georgia State in 2021/22:

Junior F Eliel Nsoseme: 11.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg in 20 games

Junior F Eliel Nsoseme’s first campaign at Georgia State was a strong one, as the Cincinnati transfer finished third in the conference in rebounding and fourth in the nation in offensive rebounding. Nsoseme made most of his bread cleaning up the glass for Georgia State and using his size and athleticism to turn jumpshot misses into putbacks. Eliel was instrumental in the December 16th home win against Mercer, dropping 16 points and securing 20 rebounds, which was a conference high for a single game during the 2020/21 season. Eliel finished the season as one just of three Sun Belt players to average a double-double over the entire season and earned a place on the All-Sun Belt Third Team. 

Sophomore F Jalen Thomas: 10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg in 18 games

Coming off an encouraging freshman season, Jalen ended up missing four of the first six games on Georgia State’s schedule due to injury and slowly found his rhythm as the season progressed. But by the time the crunch time of the season came along, he had come on strong and formed an effective partnership down low with Eliel Nsoseme at both ends of the court. Jalen set a career high in points in three consecutive games at the end of February, culminating in a 22-point outburst in the Panthers’ 85-71 win over Appalachian State on February 23rd.

An efficient scorer from anywhere inside the arc, Jalen was second on the team (to Nsoseme) with a 58.9% shooting percentage and he was second among qualified players in the conference with 1.6 blocks per game.

Freshman G Evan Johnson: 7.3 PPG, 38% 3P shooting in 22 games

A three-star recruit out of Oak Hill Academy, Evan’s 2020-2021 season will most be remembered for his 28-point outburst off the bench against South Alabama in the regular season’s final weekend. Johnson went 6 of 9 from deep to lead the Panthers to the 84-81 victory in Mobile and tied his career high in field goals made in a game at eight. It was his second 20-point performance of the season. 

A sharpshooter by trade, the freshman guard had 9 games where he hit more than one 3 pointer and hit at least one 3-point field goal in 13 games. Evan finished second on the team (to Corey Allen) in 3-point field goal percentage, hitting 38% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He saw the most playing time out of any of the true freshmen, averaging 18 minutes per game, and should be a big factor in the offensive rotation for Georgia State next year.

Sophomore G Ryan Boyce: 5.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg in 21 games

After being granted immediate eligibility for the 2020 fall semester after transferring in from Memphis in January, Ryan immediately worked his way into the rotation as an energetic reserve. He came off the bench to score double digits in each of the Panthers’ final two games in the Sun Belt tournament, scoring a career-high 13 in the semifinal against Louisiana and 11 in the championship against Appalachian State. Despite shooting a smaller volume of shots, Ryan was productive when he did pull the trigger – he shot 51.2% from the floor, 37.5% on three-pointers and 75% from the free throw line.

Ryan entered the transfer portal at the beginning of April and will pursue his options away from Georgia State.

Sophomore G JoJo Toppin: 4.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg in 11 games

JoJo transferred to Georgia State from the University of Georgia and was ineligible the entire 2019-2020 season. During the early part of the 2020-2021 season, JoJo was the first option off the bench for the Panthers, logging at least 20 minutes in each of the Panthers’ first five games. In that time, JoJo used his athleticism and quick reactions to attack the basket and scored a career-high 16 points on a perfect shooting night in the Panthers’ win against Charlotte. His field goal percentage was 52.5%, good for fourth-highest on the team. 

JoJo chose to leave the program after the Panthers resumed from their initial Covid-19 pause back in January. 

Freshman G Collin Moore: 4.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg in 20 games

Collin was pivotal in helping the Panthers get through their Covid-19 stretch in January, drawing his first two career starts against Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State midway through the season. In those two starts, he averaged 12.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg, shooting 61% from the floor, and 38% from 3. Against the Chanticleers, Moore scored a career-high 14 points.

While his minutes decreased by the end of this season, Collin should be a factor in the backup guard discussion for the Panthers heading into the 2021/22 season. Should he improve on his ball handling and jump shot, he certainly would force the issue and see even more minutes than he did in his freshman campaign.

Freshman F Kaleb Scott: 2.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg in 14 games

Entering Georgia State as a three-star recruit out of Fuquay-Varina, NC, Kaleb played as a reserve in the frontcourt as he learned under Eliel Nsoseme and Jalen Thomas. He played a season-high 21 minutes in the Panthers’ 122-57 win over Carver on December 18th, the game where he tallied a season-best 14 points. In his limited time on the court, Kaleb was efficient when shooting the basketball, making 14 of his 19 attempts on the season. 

Sophomore G Kalik Brooks: 0.8 ppg, 0.7 rpg in 17 games

Kalik is in his second season as a walk-on for the Panthers. Seeing mostly mop-up action for most of the year, Kalik worked his way into the rotation during the middle of conference season as Georgia State was coming in and out of Covid pauses. He played a season-high 18 minutes against rival Georgia Southern. In a road win against the Jaguars in late February, Brooks scored an important 5 points as the Panthers took down the Jaguars 84-81. 

Brooks is expected to return for the 2021-2022 season and will continue his fight for playing time in the Panthers rotation. 

Junior G Nelson Phillips / Sophomore F/C Joe Jones III:

Though each were expected to fill important roles on the 2020/21 Panther team, both Nelson and Joe were lost to injury in preseason and did not play a single minute this year. Both are expected to be back in action in the 2021/22 season.


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