Ron Hunter hasn’t really been able to be “dad” the last three years.
Hunter had the task of coaching his son, R.J., the standout on the Georgia State men’s basketball team the last three seasons and one of the Celtics’s two first-round picks in this year’s NBA Draft.
“I love coaching my son, but when you’re coaching him, he’s your best player, all the eyes are on you,” Hunter said Tuesday after R.J. was introduced with the rest of the Celtics’ draft class. “You’re trying to develop your son, you’re trying to develop your team.”
R.J. heaped praise on his father for the balancing act.
“I don’t know how he did it sometimes because he has me and in college he has 15 other kids. Those are his kids in college because their parents aren’t around, so it was a tough job,” he said Tuesday. “I thought he did a great job though. He did a good job of separating when it was time to be father and when it was time to be coach. I think he figured it out a little later because it was a struggle at first, but once he figured it out, he was great at it.”
The Hunters gained attention in this year’s NCAA Tournament when 13th-seeded Georgia State upset third-seeded Baylor in the second round. R.J. scored 12 of the team’s final 13 points, including a 30-footer with 2.6 seconds left, in the come-from-behind win.
“I was sitting here to the side and I saw my son, I saw Brad [Stevens], and I saw Danny Ainge,” Ron said, “and for me, that’s the first time it hit me as a dad. Not as a coach, but as a dad, how proud I was of him. I’ll never forget this moment.”
Watch the video above for more on their father-son relationship.