College Park Skyhawks laying foundation for bright future

The College Park Skyhawks had a great developmental season for many of their young players.
Atlanta Hawks rookie Seth Lundy guarding Ja Morant
Atlanta Hawks rookie Seth Lundy guarding Ja Morant / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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The College Park Skyhawks recently finished their 2023-24 season as they ended on a high note with a March 30 win. Atlanta’s G League squad missed out on the NBA G League Playoffs by just two games, but the young team has built a strong foundation held together by one of the toughest cultures in professional basketball.

Behind the leadership of first-year head coach Ryan Schmidt, the Skyhawks hung their hats on an elite defense. College Park allowed the fewest points per game to opponents this season, as well as the second-lowest field goal percentage and the fourth-lowest 3-point percentage.

Schmidt recently talked to Soaring Down South about his first season with the Skyhawks and the culture he has helped to build in College Park.

"For Year 1 with what we’ve been able to do, there are a lot of exciting things ahead. You’re seeing it with the Hawks players who have been on assignment, the two-ways … how they’re impacting and playing in games for the Hawks. That’s just what we want to build at the foundation."

Ryan Schmidt

Hawks rookies received huge opportunities in the G League

Hawks rookies Kobe Bufkin and Seth Lundy showed out for the Skyhawks during their brief stints in the G League. Both players used their time with College Park to come back from injuries and develop their skills.

Bufkin suffered a fractured thumb back in November, and he made an emphatic return from injury in the G League. Through 14 contests as a Skyhawk, Bufkin averaged 23.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. The 20-year-old has also played 13 games with Atlanta this season, recently stepping up in Trae Young's ongoing injury absence.

Lundy also lit up the G League with College Park. In 12 regular season outings, he dropped 23.1 points per game while shooting 50.8% from the field and 41.9% from three (on 8.7 attempts per game). The Hawks rookie also grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game and showcased his defensive potential.

With three games left of the G League regular season, Lundy returned from a back injury that had kept him sidelined for over a month. After a quiet first game back, Lundy poured in 51 points across two contests to finish off his College Park campaign. The Skyhawks won both of those contests, ending the season with two straight home wins.

Lundy spoke to Soaring Down South after his first game back and gave a positive update on his back injury.

"I feel like the organization did a good job preparing me … Honestly, I feel great."

Seth Lundy

Given their season-long injury concerns, the Hawks may need Lundy to take on some late-season minutes as they prepare for the April 16 play-in tournament. Lundy is yet to play a minute for Atlanta since returning to action, but the young forward’s time in the G League could go a long way for his development.

Along with Lundy and Bufkin, fellow Hawks players Vit Krejci and AJ Griffin saw some valuable run with the Skyhawks. The College Park coaching staff worked with Krejci to vastly improve his defense, which eventually allowed him to start 13 games for Atlanta. On April 1, Krejci scored a career-high 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting in a win over the Chicago Bulls.