Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jeremy Jacob leaves

It's a disappointment. No two ways about it. I was excited about Jacob. Although he was a "tweener," someone that doesn't fit the typical 3 or 4 position on the floor (and it therefore would have been difficult to figure out where to play him), it is also true that putting Jacob in the game would have likely created match-up problems for opposing teams. The Bulldog nation never really got to see what he could do.

Upon reflection, I guess it is good for Jacob that Felton gave him the redshirt year last year. At least Jacob has 4 years to play somewhere else.

However, from a purely selfish perspective, maybe it would have been better for Georgia if Felton would have put Jacob back out there. Especially when Chris Barnes went down with an injury. There would have been plenty of minutes, and from all indications, Jacob had recovered from his injury.

Could Jacob have helped Georgia defend some of those Xavier forwards? Could he have hit a clutch 3-pointer? If Jacob had played during Georgia's run to the NCAA Tournament, perhaps he would have so bonded with the team that nothing could have convinced him to leave.

We'll never know. One of my favorite memories from this past season was seeing Jacob jump on Dave Bliss' back after Bliss hit the last second bank-shot to keep Georgia alive in the SEC Tournament.

Oh well. As we do with all players who have suited up in the red and black, you wish them well in their future endeavors.

As much as I dislike the fact that Jacob is leaving, there are at least six reasons why Jacob's leaving could be a positive.

1) Minutes for others. The log jam at forward is eased up a bit. Counting Jacob, Georgia would have had 7 forwards. An injury-free Chris Barnes needs to get minutes. Jeremy Price can play and if he slims down in the off-season, he will be able to play a lot more minutes. Terrance Woodbury, Travis Leslie, Drazen Zlovaric and Howard Thompkins are all forwards. Add Albert Jackson to the mix, and the fact is that we had 8 big guys. Seven is probably a better balance, given the fact that everyone wants playing time.

2) Experience for the freshmen. With Jacob leaving, the freshmen forwards will get to play more. Howard Thompkins will play a bunch. Good for him. Georgia will get a chance to see what Travis Leslie can do. Maybe Drazen Zlovaric will see action.

3) Class Balance. Having the five recruits plus redshirt freshman Jeremy Jacob in the same academic year was going to create an issue. You only have 13 scholarship slots. Having 6 scholarships used by freshmen takes away from the class balance that good programs achieve.

4) Team Balance. With the loss of Billy Humphrey, Georgia really needs another scorer. Notwithstanding the class balance issue mentioned above, Felton could address the loss of Billy Humphrey by signing another guard, either after school starts as part of the 2008 class, or for 2009. That would give Georgia 7 big guys and 6 guards.

5) Competition. If the real reason for Jacob's leaving was that he was concerned about minutes, then that suggests that he was seeing talent on the roster at his position. Is it possible that Leslie, Zlovaric and Thompkins are really good? Are they showing out in the summer pick-up games? Could be.

6) Recruiting. Georgia now has another slot for the 2009 class. Demario Mayfield is committed, which had left Georgia with only one open scholarship. With Jacob leaving, Georgia can now recruit two, rather than one for 2009. Assuming the plan was to hold one slot open for Favors, Georgia has another scholarship available for a position of need. Terrance Shannon? Ari Stewart? Mfon Udofia? Any of those guys would be good to get, and we have room for them now.

Hang in there, Dawg fans. We have had attrition, but we have also had improvement every year. I think the net of Jacob leaving is that UGA's squad will end up better, either this year or next.

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