By D’Mitri Chin
When sports enthusiasts think of Georgia State University basketball, they instantly flashback to one moment. To them, it’s the only moment for the mid-major Panthers, and it made national headlines. Out of nowhere, R.J. Hunter hit a miraculous 3-pointer from 30 feet with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game to upset Baylor in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Hunter's shot created one of the most decorated finishes in college basketball history, and even though most folks don’t know it away from the campus of this school in downtown Atlanta, the Panthers have had handful of other such moments in the past -- more specifically, there was their 2000-01 season that saw a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Somebody who vividly remembers that experience is Lamont McIntosh, now a radio broadcaster at Georgia State. He dribbled for the Panthers for four years through 2004, including three seasons under College Basketball Hall of Fame coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell, and he was a part of the initial breakthrough of Georgia State basketball.
"My first year here (in 2000-01), the banner still hangs, (when) we were 29-5 and won a game in the NCAA Tournament," McIntosh said. "We were the first team in Georgia State history to actually win an NCAA Tournament game when we beat Wisconsin and eventually lost to Maryland in the second round."
That was the most eventful season of McIntosh’s career, because he played a significant role in the Panthers securing a spot in The Big Dance.
"Darryl Cooper, who was on that team and a good friend of mine, had two early fouls in the game against Troy in the [Sun Belt] conference finals here at Georgia State," he recalled. "It was a close game against a really good Troy team, and I came in and was perfect from the field and scored 11 points that led to us breaking the game open and winning and securing our berth in the NCAA Tournament."
While McIntosh experienced much success in his first season as a Panther, that wasn’t the end of it. His journey the rest of the way at Georgia State triggered more significant opportunities.
"That [season] led to a number of 20-win seasons and to me being a four-year letterman and graduating with a degree in financing in 2004,” McIntosh said, “and I was blessed enough to continue my career playing basketball professionally in Europe."
Upon graduating from Georgia State in 2004, McIntosh pursued a professional basketball career overseas in countries such as Scotland, Belgium and Germany. Once he decided to step away from the game permanently six years ago, he still had an itch for being involved with the sport. With his basketball knowledge and expertise, McIntosh found himself calling Georgia State men's games alongside Georgia Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Dave Cohen this year.
"We always talked about working together in the future, and due to some things beyond my knowledge, the opportunity came about, and he asked if I would be interested in doing [broadcasting], and the answer was a no-brainer," McIntosh said.
Cohen attested to the idea of his longtime friend exploring the idea of calling games once his playing career culminated.
"I used to kid with him, and I would say, ‘Somewhere down the line if I'm still sitting here doing this when you're done playing, you're going to be sitting to my right and working with me on the radio,’ " Cohen said.
It all makes sense: McIntosh's unique ability to dissect the game from a player's perspective is more appealing to the average sports fan.
"I think it gives the listeners some insight that maybe they haven't gotten before, and Dave [Cohen] has afforded me that opportunity to make it really easy," McIntosh said.
"The transition was pretty easy once we got past the first three games," Cohen said. "Because we know one another and have known one another for years, the transition was relatively quick and easy."
McIntosh agreed and said the best advice Cohen gave him was to "just be myself and to be natural."
Being natural seems to be the method behind calling great basketball games, because McIntosh considers every game he has called thus far rewarding.
"The entire journey has been phenomenal, because from the first exhibition game to now being in our eighth conference game and the 21st game overall, I've learned so much more," he said, but he forgot to mention: The world has learned so much about Georgia State basketball through his play in the past and his voice now.