Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recruiting: Tough Business

I saw recently that both Jason Morris and Shannon Scott have eliminated Georgia from consideration.

UGA is, however, still in the running for Cady Lalanne.

These developments show just how difficult it is to get basketball recruiting going at Georgia.

Looking back at recent history, Dennis Felton arrived in Athens after the awkward personnel decisions were reached with Jim Harrick. Due to the looming NCAA penalties, Felton appropriately agreed to release Harrick's incoming class from their letters of intent.

Since Harrick had largely been unsuccessful in recruiting, Felton faced a roster with several seniors, but no juniors and no sophomores. Felton's recruiting efforts achieved the following results:

  1. 2003: Corey Gibbs, Marcus Sikes, Steve Newman and Levi Stukes (two 3-star players, and 2 unranked guys. Decent last minute work, but no home runs, especially given the fact that Gibbs was coming off of a knee injury)
  2. 2004: Channing Toney, Younes Idrissi, Dave Bliss, and Sundiata Gaines (two 3-stars and two unranked)
  3. 2005: Louis Williams, Mike Mercer, Rashaad Singleton, Terrance Woodbury, Kendrick Johnson, and Billy Humphrey (two 5-stars and four 3-stars)
  4. 2006: Takais Brown and Albert Jackson (one 3-star and one unranked Juco)
  5. 2007: Chris Barnes, Troy Brewer, Jeremy Jacob, Jeremy Price and Zac Swansey (two 4-stars, and three 3-stars)
  6. 2008: Ebuka Anyaorah, Travis Leslie, Howard Thompkins, Dustin Ware, and Drazen Zlovaric (one 4-star and four 3-stars)
  7. 2009: Demario Mayfield and Daniel Miller (one 3-star that would stay, and one that would ask out of his commitment after Felton was let go)

Felton did a respectable job in recruiting, especially so, given the fact that he had to recruit under the cloud of an NCAA investigation for the first couple of years. His third year, 2005, was supposed to be his "money year," the year in which his recruiting and the team's performance were supposed to take off.

And from all indications, things were pretty much set. He got early commitments from two 5-star players. However, Louis Williams opted to go straight to the pro's, and didn't show up at all. Another player, Kendrick Johnson, who was supposed to provide depth in the post, showed up with hobbled wheels.

From there, instead of taking off, things went down-hill for UGA. Injuries, transfers, suspensions and dismissals decimated the roster and the team's record. Although Georgia went to the NCAA Tourney in 2008 under Felton, the team's disappointing record in 2009 and the failure in quality recruiting during the year ultimately led to Felton's dismissal.

Now what? Mark Fox is on the scene. Can he reverse the tide?

Maybe. There are reasons for optimism here. No NCAA investigation. A new training facility. Even better news, Fox does not have to recruit like crazy to be successful. He has a roster full of scholarship players. He has 9 players-- 1 senior, 2 juniors, 5 sophomores, and 1 freshman, from the Felton tenure.

He can field a competitive team with Thompkins, Ware and Leslie, with Albert Jackson, Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes. All he needs to do is have a good offensive system, and he can win now.

But Fox won't be able to win later unless he recruits. So looking at how things are shaping up, Fox has the following recruiting results:

  1. 2009: Vincent Williams (one 3-star to go along with Felton hold-over, Demario Mayfield).
  2. 2010: Gerald Robinson (former 3-star from 2007).

Coach Fox wasn't a "big splash" recruit like John Calipari. I don't think it was realistic for fans to expect him to bring talent with him, so his first year is sort of like Felton's. The expectation was for him to plug up as many holes in the roster as possible. Vincent Williams is decent work, considering the circumstances.

The key for Fox is whether he can compress the schedule. Make his second year much better, like a money year, if you will, and really do well in 2011.

So far, the jury is still out on the 2010 recruiting for Fox. Georgia has missed out on some guys, but we still have a shot at Jelan Kendrick, a 5-star, and Cady Lalanne, a 3-star forward. If Fox can get Kendrick, Georgia recruiting is definitely on its way up. Follow the successful recruiting of Kendrick with the commitment of Julian Royal, Dai-Jon Parker, Tony Parker, and a couple of the other elite recruits for 2011 and 2012, then Georgia will have finally hit its stride.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed. Recruiting is tough business.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i really like what you've got here. Check out how Georgia's doing as far as five star prospects at