One of the ways in which Coach Felton's success can be measured is in determining the makeup of UGA's starting five.
In other words, a good program should have real competition for minutes. Last year's starters should be improving their games and working hard to make sure that the newcomers don't overtake them. Practices are therefore more productive, and the games during the year are more exciting as different players develop and produce results on the floor.
By this metric, it looks like UGA is rounding into shape. As we prepare for the 2008 season, there is actual debate on who starts on at least 3 of the 5 positions.
We now have 12 players on scholarship, plus one battle-tested walk-on. Since when has UGA been even close to numbers like this? Even if Jeremy Jacob leaves, the cupboard is still relatively full, rather than empty. Now, I don't want to jinx us, either. Injuries or suspensions could occur. But it is better to go into the year with a full roster, than to go in already depleted because recruits can't get into school. For now, we're looking pretty good.
Swansey, Butler, Woodbury, Price, and Jackson.
Now, I admit that there are questions for where the points would come from out of this group. But the good thing is that these guys all played major minutes last year. And I admit further that the above statement of starters assumes that Woodbury cannot successfully play the 2-guard. If Woodbury starts at the 3 position, then unless there is a true superstar on the roster, the guys with the most experience begin the year as starters.
Second Five? The weakness that Georgia has had over the last few years is in the second five. We just haven't had much of a bench. That's what makes me excited about this year's team. UGA's second five is poised to push for minutes. They are all very impressive athletes and can put up points, too.
Ware, Anyaorah, Leslie, Thompkins, and Barnes.
Depending on defense and progress in the weight room (and roster developments), the back-ups would be
Brewer, Zlovaric, Jacob, and McPhee.
And the good thing about these 4 guys is that any of them could come in and play. Some could make major contributions. Who knows? If the rumor of his pending transfer is untrue and Jacob ends up staying, he could challenge for starting minutes at the 3 or the 4 position.
I like where we stand. We've got some depth, some guys that can play multiple positions, and some unknowns that could turn into solid contributors.