Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sounds Familiar

Jeremy Jacob left the University of Georgia, went Juco for a year, and ended up, well,-- at the University of Georgia. Sort of.

Word earlier this year was that LSU was hot on Jacob's trail. LSU's new coach, Trent Johnson, was reportedly intrigued with Jacob and his all around game, physical toughness, rebounding and scoring ability. An LSU commitment would have taken Jacob back home to Baton Rouge, to the 27 and 7 team that won the SEC, and is one game away from the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen.

I admit that I lost track of the process, and I'm not sure whether LSU ever offered Jacob a scholarship. But I find it ironic that Jacob left Georgia, with its struggling program, last or next to last finish in the conference, coach on the hot seat, and unhappy boosters-- only to decide to go to Oregon.

It may yet work out for Jacob. Oregon's head coach could keep his job and come out of the blocks ready to win. They've got some nice pieces already.

But if things don't change quickly, Jacob could find himself at a basketball program in the midst of massive upheaval. If that's what he wanted, he could saved himself a cross country trip and stayed at UGA.

Friday, March 20, 2009


This story on how Sundiata Gaines willed the team to victory in 2008 was a "keeper," I thought. So I'm adding it to the Blog.

Of course, if you want any other of the Blog's information on Gaines, you can get it by clicking on his name in the "Labels" section, just beneath this post.

Leaving on the Midnight Train from Georgia

Swansey and Brewer are transferring. May be old news to readers, but I wanted to preserve the AP article.

Lots of twists and turns regarding Troy Brewer. Seemed like he was on, then off, then on again, regarding whether he would transfer. But he has definitely made up his mind, according to the article, and has stated that he wanted to get closer to home and get more playing time.

Don't blame him. Another program might help him to develop.

If I had his ear and the chance to make three suggestions, I would say the following: 1) Drive the ball. 2) Fix the mechanics on your shot. Too often you're bringing the ball across your body to prepare to shoot. 3) Drive the ball.

Good luck to Swansey and Brewer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brewer to Stay?

The first time that I wrote about Brewer transferring, I put a question mark on the title. It seemed to me that using Zac Swansey as the primary source for information about transfers was a little bit risky, since he might have reasons for asserting that he was not the only one that has decided to move on.

But after seeing no such caution by David Hale's blog and the site, I went ahead and took the question mark away.

Let's put it back again.

The Athens Banner Herald is reporting that Troy Brewer is not planning to leave the basketball program. And the ABH quotes Brewer himself for the information. Good reporting.

With that said, I'm leaving the question mark in my title this time around. It would not surprise me at all if the new coach puts the screws on some players, including Troy Brewer, and is very honest with them about their playing future with the team.

"Troy, you were a 22 percent shooter from three-point range last year. There is no reason for 82 percent of your shots to be from behind the arc. You either learn to slash or you don't play."

Since Brewer has decided to stick things out, I would imagine that the other guys who have contemplated leaving will take a similar track.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AJC Article on Transfers

I post this article here because it gives details on Swansey's reasons for wanting to leave.

Being demoted is part of the game. You've got to prove yourself with your production on the floor. Although Swansey faults the communication of his demotion, he should have seen it coming. The fact of the matter is for the year, Swansey shot 36% from the floor, 28% from behind the arc, and 50% from the line.

He just wasn't playing well.

On the other hand, Dustin Ware had a little more upside. Ware shot better from the floor, better from three, and had better speed. Ware wasn't tearing up the place, mind you, but he seemed to improve as he got more time.

Swansey could go to a different program and really contribute. He might not ever gain the starting position he seeks, but he'll have his chances to show what he can do. From what I could tell, as the year progressed, Swansey started to fix the mechanical issues on his shot. He always had great court vision, and he has some underutilized hops.

If he transfers, sits out a year, and improves his fundamentals, he could have a good college career ahead of him.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sleeper Recruits

ESPN names a few of them. Don't know if any would be interested in UGA.

Still Available

Brewer, Next

David Hale is reporting on his blog that Troy Brewer is transferring. And I just noticed that has an article on its site about Brewer leaving.

I don't know whether a mass exit is occurring, but this thing sure looks like it is gathering steam. First Swansey, and then, Brewer, and they are not waiting around to see who the next coach will be.

Brewer was recruited out of Montrose Academy, if memory serves me, in the suburban D.C. area. Coach Felton hoped that Brewer would be a dead-eye three-point shooter, and he probably anticipated bringing Brewer along slowly, until Troy could develop his thin frame enough to withstand the rigors of SEC basketball.

However, things never seemed to work out for Brewer. He was inserted in the games a number of times last year at the very end when a three-pointer was needed. And this year, Georgia had so many difficulties just avoiding turnovers that spot minutes for Brewer were few and far between. Then, when Brewer did play, his form seemed to be way off, and he never tried to drive the ball to the hoop to take advantage of his long frame.

I would expect Brewer to try to catch on with a team closer to his Maryland home.

The impact of the Brewer and Swansey transfers is that Georgia's new coach will have three scholarships to offer for the fall 2009 team. I don't know of any quality recruits left on the board, but there may be a late bloomer or two.

As for other potential transfers, I don't know what will happen with Jeremy Price. I assume that Travis Leslie will remain eligible.

At any rate, the coach will have some flexibility. He needs a back-up point guard and another shooter, definitely. With that said, he should have the makings of a decent roster: a center, Albert Jackson; a power forward or two, Chris Barnes and Howard Thompkins; and a point guard, Dustin Ware. Academics seem to be in good shape, and Atlanta, with its fertile recruiting ground, is an hour away.

Here's wishing Troy Brewer the best, and hoping that UGA basketball will get better next year.

Swansey to Transfer

Well, there's my answer. I mentioned earlier that there was bound to be some turnover in UGA's hoops roster, and change has already begun.

Zac Swansey began the year as the starting point guard. I thought that Dustin Ware might be a better fit for the team, since I wasn't sure Swansey was fast enough to break other team's defenders off the dribble. I didn't consider him the kind of disruptive point guard that Coach Felton needed in his defensive system.

Swansey's scored a lot of points in high school, but from what I could tell from my admittedly limited viewing opportunities, an inordinate number of Swansey's points seemed to come from "snow-birding," or leaking out early on the fast break to convert lay-ups on the other end.

I hoped for the best when Swansey came to UGA, and Swansey performed quite well, I thought, as a back-up to Sundiata Gaines. However, Zac's contributions went south during his sophomore year when he had to man the point guard position as a starter.

Somehow Swansey's free-throw shooting skills abandoned him. Then his mid-range game went sideways-- literally. Swansey began to float laterally when he shot his jumper, and his field goal percentage accordingly fell.

In the meantime, Dustin Ware started off the year in a slump. Did not shoot well at all, and turned the ball over way too much.

Georgia's basketball fortunes slid, as teams employed a press and UGA gave the ball away over and over. Not to say that all of Georgia's faults were caused by the point guards. There was plenty of blame to go around.

At any rate, eventually Dustin Ware started to play better, and he replaced Swansey in the starting line-up. The year ended with a first round exit in the SEC Tournament, and guys have begun to examine their future with the team.

Swansey wants his shot to play basketball and to start, or at least play a good number of minutes. He does not want to be part of a rebuilding effort, and the turmoil associated with a new coach trying to put his stamp on the program is sure to be difficult for the team.

I will long remember Swansey's jumper to beat Kentucky, one of my favorite memories from Georgia's SEC Tournament championship run. I wish Zac well in the future.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Steve Newman to Iowa

Newman was waived by the Utah Flash back at the end of February. He averaged 2.5 points per game, along with 2 rebounds.

Newman was picked up on March 4 by the Iowa Energy. He has played in just a few games, so far. He'll have to score (shooting percentage of just .380) and rebound much better to stick in the D-League.

Corey Butler Article

Again, I'm catching up from my time away from the Blog, and I wanted to preserve this great article on Corey Butler.

Especially meaningful, since his basketball career has now come to a close. Great guy. Wish him all the success.


Great Story on Channing Toney

and his dad, Andrew.


Casey Mitchell to Play at West Virginia?

Sure sounds like it. The high-scoring shooting guard originally committed to UAB. He then later opened up his recruitment.

I wondered if he was the kind of guy that could be successful at Georgia, and recently wrote that the new coach should take a hard look at him. However, I had not seen the earlier reports that Mitchell had committed to West Virginia.

Who knows? He could de-commit again, but in all likelihood, the Mitchell train has left the station.


Julian Royal Plays Big

Scored 32 to lead Milton into the finals of the AAAAA state tournament.

Quite impressive, especially for a sophomore. I expect him to get better and better next year. Could be a higher scoring Derrick Favors.


Milton couldn't quite get it done in the championship game against Wheeler. Even though Milton lost by 20, Royal had a good game, with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. In the end, though, Ari Stewart and Richard Howell dominated. Couple of guys are headed to N.C. State, along with Lorenzo Brown.

State has recruited the Atlanta area well. I think Stewart has big upside, and the Georgia coaching staff was extremely high on Lorenzo Brown at one point. The word on Howell is that he is a bit of a "tweener," but the guy can play. Hard to argue with success.

Georgia should have plenty of scholarships to offer to the 2011 class. That's far enough away that Georgia's new coach will be able to get his shot at successfully recruiting Royal, Dai-Jon Parker and Shannon Scott, Milton's talented sophomores.