Thursday, November 27, 2008

Drazen Zlovaric

It's amazing what 7 of 8 shooting can do for a guy.

I imagine we won't see too many remarks on message boards about whether Drazen is a "project" or not. Most sports fans use the term to mean someone who will need a lot of work and a couple of years before being able to contribute, if at all.

Well, if you can hit a number of outside shots in a row, and are 6' 9" to boot, with great handles, the likelihood is that you are NOT a project. A couple of years could make Zlovaric stronger, no doubt, and added strength will help him compete at a higher level. But the consensus now is that the issue is not so much whether Zlovaric can play or when he can play, but rather, how can we get him more minutes.

Another recently debated topic deals with Tanner Smith. Some have lamented the fact that Georgia "missed" on Tanner Smith. The program really needs a shooting guard, and with Ebuka Anyaorah being sidelined with injury, some argue that the coaching staff should have worked harder to bring Smith in.

As great a kid as Smith is, and I would have loved to have him join UGA's program, the truth is that Georgia didn't miss on him. From all I understand, he was recruited and given a scholarship offer.

In the end, Smith's recruitment stopped when Zlovaric committed. In all likelihood, had Smith committed earlier, we would have taken him. But it appeared that the Georgia staff ranked Zlovaric as being a better prospect. And since Zlovaric is taller, with more impressive athleticism, I can understand a basketball program taking him, rather than Smith.

If Zlovaric continues to shoot well, I doubt we will see much posted on Tanner Smith. I'll continue to follow Smith and cheer him on as he competes for Clemson. Sometimes, recruiting is about timing and choices, rather than whether someone was overlooked.

The last matter involving Zlovaric is Felton's body of work in recruiting. It is true that the state of Georgia has a lot of talent in its high school ranks. It is also true that a number of highly-touted players left the state to compete for other schools.

Yet, you still have to give Felton credit for the talent he did bring in. Zlovaric, Thompkins, Ware and Leslie will be big-time players for Georgia for years to come. It has been many years since Georgia has had as talented a class as this one.

Felton traveled all the way to Serbia to check Zlovaric out, and he appears to have gotten it right. Zlovaric can play. The other guys are fantastic, too. They all project to be great representatives of Georgia basketball, and I look forward to their development. Felton is a hard worker on the recruiting trail, and he is bringing in some high quality student-athletes, including last game's designated player of the game, Drazen Zlovaric.

Go Dawgs.

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