Friday, December 28, 2012
Guy works hard, brings it each game, always laboring in the shadow of his father and uncle. Through persistence, hustle and great attitude Damien has crafted a really nice career.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Well, now Mann does start and so does Morris. We are 4 and 7 in the process, but the team is improving and we have won two straight with the possibility of getting a third in a row this week.
I wanted Fox to curb the shooting from behind the arc by Nemi and Brantley. I wanted Brantley to concentrate on defense and take the ball hard to the basket once before shooting a three-pointer. In the last game the team was much more efficient. Neither Nemi nor Brantley shot a three.
Fox used the press more effectively against USC. Our match-up zone looked a lot better and even our free throws were going down.
Well, time to give Fox credit. He is using his roster more effectively and the team is performing better. We're a long way from where we should be in his fourth year, but if we continue to drive the ball to the basket and Kenny Gaines gives us some scoring punch off the bench, we might do alright for the year. Let's see if the Dawgs can pick up these next two games and gain some confidence going into the SEC portion of the schedule. Win these next two and upset Florida, a lot of fans will get back on the bandwagon. Even more so if Fox garners a verbal commitment from a big-time 2014 player this winter.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
I don't know if anyone else noticed, but Kentavious used to let his elbow flare out to the right on his release. That action created a rightward spin on the ball which caused the ball either to drift to the right or twirl out of the bucket. I mentioned it before the season as an area for improvement, and you can see it on the Georgiadogs.com video I linked back on August 2, 2012.
Now, he's keeping his elbow tucked, and consequently his shooting percentage will go way up.
I first spotted the change in his form when he was shooting free throws (I think it was in the first half). Great work.
Since I started this post, KCP has hit 3 more contested jump-shots. He ended the game shooting 10 of 14 from the field, averaging 71 percent, by far his highest shooting percentage for any game (his career shooting average is 39 percent).
Note: I'm not trying to be unfair to Nemi, because I didn't want people analyzing my every move either. What I am suggesting is a way to get Nemi's confidence back.
In that light, if Coach Fox must play him a lot more minutes than Brandon Morris (hint: Coach Fox, you don't), at least give Nemi a chance to break out of his slump by playing him spot minutes during the middle of the half, not the end.
Coach Fox should play the percentages. Brandon shoots 50 percent from the floor, and 74 percent from the line. He gets 2 free throw attempts per game, and even better, averages 1 free throw attempt for every shot attempt.
In contrast, Nemi is shooting 30 percent from the floor. Although Nemi shoots the same percentage from the line as Morris, Nemi gets to the line a lot less (right at 1 free throw for every 4 shot attempts).
The bottom line is that Morris puts more pressure on the defense and is a lot more efficient offensively. In that light, why would Coach Fox give Nemi 2 1/2 times the minutes that Brandon gets?
Nemi can help in the right situation. I like him playing the top in our pressure package. Since he's struggling on offense, flip the roster utilization and let Brandon play twice the minutes that Nemi gets, at least until Nemi gets his confidence back.
Friday, December 21, 2012
In any case, if the Mercer game wasn't the turn-around game for Georgia's 2012-2013 campaign, then the USC game tomorrow might be.
Georgia is going up against an under-achieving Southern Cal team. We're 3 and 7 on the year and they're 4 and 7. We've had our share of bad losses and so have the Trojans. In their last game, USC lost to the Cal-Irvine Anteaters (!) by a score of 71 to 64.
UGA definitely has a shot at winning this game. We're at home. They score just 63 points per game and their back-court play has been spotty. USC went 6 and 26 last year, so if we jump on them early they might give up.
Winning won't be automatic, though. They have some size, including 3 players at 7 feet or over, and some impressive athletes.
Their big guys, however, aren't that impressive. All three score 7 points or less per game. Although USC can bring in off the bench two high-risers in Ari Stewart, a Metro Atlanta guy who transferred from Wake Forest, and Renaldo Woolridge, a UT transfer, Stewart and Woolridge have arguably regressed at USC. Ari and Renaldo average 2 points between the two of them.
We can beat USC. We'll have to play smart basketball, limit their second-chance shots, and get up and down the floor. If Fox plays Charles Mann and Brandon Morris big minutes and Kenny Gaines provides a spark off the bench, then UGA should be at 4 and 7 by this time tomorrow.
Beating a big-name team like USC might just be the catalyst for a UGA win streak. Let's get it done.
I'd like to see him put on 10 or 15 pounds of muscle, though. You can score points in the SEC as an under the rim player, but you have to be physical enough to get and maintain position.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
But getting it done takes execution. We had just enough today. UGA wins 58 to 49.
There were a few good signs.
1) We hit our free throws.
We went 13 of 16 (81%).
2) Fox used his roster more effectively
Shooting free throws well is good. But to hit'em, you gotta get'em. In other words, we're not going to go to the line if we just pass the ball around the perimeter. We have to attack the basket so we can get fouled in the first place. Charles Mann will do that. About time he got the start. Brandon Morris will do that. Better to give Morris major minutes than to trot Marcus Thornton out there on bad wheels. John Florveus got some key minutes.
3) Shot selection was better
We attempted 44 shots from the field. Only 12 were three-pointers. That's huge. Nemi didn't take any long-distance tries. If we shoot the three off of the drive and kick action, then we're more likely to make them. We hit 7 of 12.
4) KCP was Huge
Guy had 17 points, 9 boards and 3 steals, while shooting 5 of 10 from the floor and 5 of 6 from the line.
There were a couple of concerns, however. We will need buckets from Cannon, Morris and Donte Williams. If those three go a combined 0 for 6 against decent competition, UGA will more than likely lose the game. Besides that, fifteen turnovers is way high.
All in all, though, a good result for the Dawgs. We're now 3 and 7. Let's go on a streak. It's not too late.
We know what we'll get from KCP. Charles Mann is starting to drive the ball effectively. Brandon Morris has been playing well the last two games. Gaines is the x-factor. He can score and we have to have it now.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Fox said that he wanted a schedule that would help get the team into the tournament at the end of the year. He seemed not to know how bad his team would be.
How could he think that we would have a shot at the NCAA's with the roster we had? Oh well. Since the cupcakes are beating us, I guess no amount of schedule manipulation would have helped.
Fox now has an overall losing record at UGA. In his four years of coaching he is now 52 and 53.
We missed too many free throws. We shot 54 percent from the line for the game, but I think we went 2 for 8 in overtime. Something like that.
The good news is that the freshmen got experience. Charles Mann went 5 of 8 from the field, and finished the game with 18 points and 7 rebounds. He missed free throws, but the more he plays, the more settled he will be in crunch time. Brandon Morris shot 5 of 12 and scored 12 points with 7 rebounds. Kenny Gaines shot 3 of 6.
With the freshmen playing, it is clear that we are a better offensive and defensive team.
Hate to say this, but Coach Fox needs to realize that Vincent Williams and Nemi Djurisic are liabilities on the defensive side. Vincent plays hard, but he is too small to keep the opposing point guard from getting good looks from outside. It would be different if he offset his lack of size with great offensive output, but Williams went 0 for 3 this game, 0 for 7 last game against Tech, and is shooting just 28 percent from the field for the year. He needs to back up Mann, not vice versa.
Nemi is too slow of foot. Besides that, he had five turnovers and went 0 for 5 from the field this game and 1 for 8 against Tech. Fox needs to rein him back as a three-point shooter. If memory serves me, Nemi is 1 for his last 16 from behind the arc.
We're 2 and 7 on the year. Not good.
The line-up, Coach Fox, is KCP, Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines, Donte Williams and Brandon Morris. Please.
He has the defensive intensity of Rashad Wright and the size of Vern Fleming, but he shoots better. The best thing is that he puts pressure on the defense by attacking the rim. If he tightens his handle and gains confidence, he might turn out to be one heck of a player.
Even better news: Fox cannot possibly misunderstand the box score. The guys who should get minutes (Mann, Gaines, KCP, Donte Williams and Brandon Morris) are a combined 14 of 19.
Meanwhile, the guys who should play a support role (Brantley, Djurisic, Dixon and Vincent Williams) are a combined 0 for 9.
If Fox utilizes his roster accordingly, we have a shot at turning the season around.
Won't be easy. They're far from a cupcake. Iona plays a fast pace and they have two guards from New York, both of whom are averaging right at 20 points per game. Iona beat Wake Forest by almost 30.
Got to bring our "A" game today. We're rested and I think Fox will let his freshmen play. We either lose by twelve or win by five. I think the latter.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Guess that's why I wanted Fox to recruit this guy.
So disappointing to hear him say that "I felt the love at Maryland so that's where I went." I guess we didn't try to show him the love in Athens. Did we even bring him to campus?
Although Leslie started off the year with an injury, he bounced back quickly. Right now, Travis is averaging a double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 48 percent from the floor, right at 34 percent from behind the arc, and 83 percent from the line.
I suppose he could get on an international league roster, but I think Travis is going to get another opportunity with an NBA team, perhaps before the year is out.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
The most frustrating thing to me is that Coach Fox seems clueless on how to fix it. He has some help on the bench, but he won't use his roster effectively.
He insists on starting three power forwards. Do not start Nemi, Thornton and Donte Williams. They're not quick enough to cover shooters, and not talented enough to give us a scoring punch early in the game. Decide on one of them and sit the other two.
Putting Donte Williams at center is the most obvious answer. Meanwhile, slide KCP to the three again and start Kenny Gaines at the two. Since neither Vincent Williams nor Charles Mann played that well, then go with size and start Mann. More minutes for Morris! Please! The guy fills the stat sheet with 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in 19 minutes.
To give him more time on the floor, move Morris to the four position. He played it in high school. See if it works for a game or two. It's not like we're on a roll and in danger of breaking our winning streak.
I don't call players out on the Blog. But anyone can see that the guys who are 0 for 7 and 1 for 8 need to sit, and the guys that are 2 for 2 need to play.
We need to keep attacking the rim and shoot more free throws. Gaines and Morris are playing well. Put them back in, Coach!
Thornton just hit a shot to reduce their lead to eight. Ten minutes left to go. Still plenty of time for us to tie the score and win by double digits if we hit our free throws.
We have to get some stops, though.
Not getting the rebounds. Not closing out on their three-point shooters. Five minutes left. Let's fight like crazy and see if we can get back into this thing.
Okay. Three and a half to go. We're down 12, I think. We'll need to get to the foul line to stop the clock and hit a couple of clutch threes.
If we lose, I think Coach has seen enough. Brandon Morris needs a lot more time. He is a more natural wing player than Nemi. Let him play. Get Gaines back in there. He's two for two, but can't get into the game.
We call our last time-out and get a turnover for violating the shot clock. Frustrating.
They get a lay-up. No minutes for Gaines.
Monday, December 3, 2012
On paper, Tech should win. They have home court advantage, a better overall record (they're 4 and 2, and we're 2 and 5), and probably better talent to boot.
The one thing that we have that could lead us to a victory is our pride. Our football team beat them two weeks ago, our Lady Dawgs beat them the other night, and now the men's basketball team has to do its part. A loss to Tech in hoops would be unthinkable.
At 2 and 5, we had better get the season turned around. We're desperate and we need to play like it.
Let's jump on them early and get the victory.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
You've got to spike it in that situation. Give yourself a little time. Then throw it into the end zone. Hats off to Alabama for running it down our throats. I thought we had enough magic left to eke out a win.
Great season for the football Dawgs, but we didn't get it done.
Friday, November 30, 2012
We're 2 and 5 on the season. I said in my earlier post today that I refused to believe that we are as bad as we have played. Well, I guess I believe now. Hopefully there are no more directional schools on our schedule. They're killing us.
No offense to USF, but if we can't stay within 10 points of them, what's going to happen when we play Billy Donovan's Florida squad?
They shot 23 free throws. We shot just 9. I'll say it again: We're not going to win launching shots from 3-point range, folks.
Fox gave Brandon Morris 1 minute. Nemi got 32 minutes and shot 3 for 13. Our starters are 2 guards and 3 power forwards. That's a recipe for disaster on the offensive end.
It's not just shot selection and use of his roster, although I strongly disagree with what Fox is doing in those two areas. His game planning seems to be lacking. Point: You don't press a team with good three-point shooters and a short point guard. You're playing right into their hands if you do. I could go on, but I'll stop here.
So far this year USF is averaging less than 4,000 in attendance per home game. Students are likely to be in the midst of preparing for exams, so perhaps their home court advantage will be muted by empty seats ('bout like the Steg' has been lately).
Although USF and UGA have not faced each other before in hoops, South Florida has somewhat of a recent connection to UGA basketball. Back in 2009, USF and coach Stan Heath took a chance and gave Mike Mercer a basketball scholarship after he was dismissed by UGA coach Dennis Felton. While at South Florida, Mercer recovered from two torn ACL's, but it seemed that his other challenges stayed around a bit longer.
At any rate, USF was 22 and 14 last year and is 4 and 2 so far this year, while Georgia had a losing record last year and comes into the game at 2 and 4 this season. USF's big men shoot the ball well from deep, but they can also take it to the rim and finish. Their leading scorer, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, a 6' 9" senior, shoots 50 percent from the floor and over 40 percent from behind the arc.
Despite how things look on paper, in my way of thinking, the two teams are about evenly matched. I refuse to believe that UGA is as bad in basketball as their recent play suggests. Kenny Gaines will sooner or later hit his first bucket and emerge as a big scorer. Donte Williams got a slow start after his suspension, but has started to play better of late. We're not a good three-point shooting team, so I keep waiting for Fox to rein in the guys that keep firing away from long range, and give more time to the guys who can take it to the basket, like Gaines and Brandon Morris. Maybe the ETSU game was an indication that he is doing exactly that.
In any case, if Georgia is to turn around its season, now would be a great time to start. Dawgs 67, USF 64.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Must have brought back memories for Sundiata, since he did the same thing in one of his first NBA games. Blog readers probably recall that Sundiata beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2010 (Gaines was then playing with the Utah Jazz after being called up from the D-League). As a matter of fact, Gaines' shot was predicted by a Utah Jazz sports announcer. Perhaps we should have been expecting more late-game heroics from Gaines.
Sundiata's last-second shot this time around was set up when he tied the score on a strong drive to the basket. After hitting that acrobatic two-pointer, the Fujian Sturgeons had to keep Tracy McGrady from dribbling the ball until there was just time for T-Mac to try a last-second shot.
McGrady was too casual with his dribbling, however, and one of the guards for the Sturgeons stole the ball, then called a quick time-out. They in-bounded the ball to Yada and he rose up from well beyond the three point line and drilled a jumper.
Yada's teammates were so excited, it looked like they were trying to put him in one of those MMA submission holds.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
The circumstances are obviously different, but it bears mentioning that Dennis Felton took a team on NCAA probation, one that was down to seven scholarship players, and managed a 48 percent winning record (84 and 91) overall and 30 percent in the SEC (26 and 59).
Mark Fox now has a record of 51 and 50 overall (50 percent), and 19 and 29 (39 percent) in the SEC. If UGA performs no worse than it did last year, Fox will have produced losing records in 3 out of 4 seasons, an overall record about the same as Felton's, and an SEC record in which Fox loses 7 out of every 10 games.
Unfortunately for UGA hoops fans, it looks like the Dawgs will in fact be worse than last year. I had a lot of hope for this year and it is frustrating to see the team so poorly out of the gate, given that we had the extra practices and the Italy trip.
Fox has more good will than Felton, and UGA's athletic director McGarity seems to want to stay the course. However, I'm not sure that basketball boosters will still be behind Fox if the team continues to lose as it has so far. We desperately need to win tomorrow night, facing a bad East Tennessee State team, and find a way to bring in early commitments from big-time recruits for the 2014 class.
Can Fox get it done? I'd like to see us run off a string of ten wins or so. As for right now, however, things don't look good for Fox and UGA hoops.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
We did show a few flashes in keeping the game close. We had an 11 point lead in the first half. John Cannon seems to be our answer at the center position. He had 8 points on 4 of 8 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. 0 turnovers.
Kentavious scored 16 points on 5 of 13 shooting. Not great, but not bad either, considering the defense focuses so much on him. He did pad his shooting percentage somewhat with two lay-ups in the final minute when UCLA knew they were going to win. Although KCP is not an efficient scorer, Fox has to be pleased with Caldwell-Pope's other stats-- 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
Donte had an effective game with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Marcus Thornton got a block and 9 rebounds, but he's just not a factor offensively. 0 points on 0 for 2 from the field and 0 of 2 from the line.
Brantley continues to bomb away from behind the arc. That's a coaching issue. I would not let him shoot only three-pointers. He doesn't make enough of them to be taking 8 three-pointers during the game. He hit 2 at the beginning of the game, but missed the other 6.
Said it before, but I'll say it again. I don't see why Brandon Morris does not get more minutes. There must be something else going on behind the scenes.
I guess my main take-away from this game is that if our big men, who are getting healthy amounts of playing time, can all develop about the same time, we'll have a nice rotation in the front court. We know what KCP can do. Nemi is a known quantity, pretty much. Gaines has yet to score a basket, but he will score a bunch of them in his UGA career. Mann is coming along and Donte is staring to look like his old self.
The potential is there with this team, but when will it be realized? When will we see some real progress in terms of wins and losses?
Monday, November 19, 2012
I'm proud of the Dawgs for their performance in the first half. Great defense. We targeted their big man and kept him from going off. That kid Oladipo picked up the slack, though. Shot 6 of 8 from the floor and had a couple of key plays when they caught up and passed us.
We had a nice lead there for a couple of minutes. We couldn't sustain it over time. The bottom line is that if KCP doesn't shoot well, Georgia will not win. In time, he will get more help. Kenny Gaines is a tremendous athlete. When he gets more experience out there, he will be a force on the offensive end. Vincent Williams shot 5 of 8 and scored 14 points for his career high. Don't know if Brandon Morris played. Since Thornton went 1 of 4 from the floor and had just 1 rebound, it's time to go with Morris taking more of Thornton's minutes.
We're 1 and 3. I'm still a Georgia basketball supporter. I still hate losing. We still have a long way to go.
Any-hoo, let's be realistic. The Dawgs have a chance. Not much of one, but there's still a chance. If Donte plays big and we get production from our bench, maybe we can stay in this thing. Have to hit our free throws and avoid unforced errors.
It's in a neutral site. Who knows? They could have an off night. If we could somehow escape with a victory, it would be the signature win of the Mark Fox era.
My honest assessment? Dawgs lose by 18. Indiana 78, Georgia 60.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Not trying to be discouraging, but the results speak for themselves.
We shot 38 percent from the field. Missed half our free throws. Sixty percent of our shot attempts were from behind the arc (57.7%)! We got out-rebounded again. I know we came back and made the game close, but we can't expect to win if we perform like we did tonight.
We are now 1 and 2 on the year. I don't like getting beat by the directional schools at home.
I don't understand our coach's substitution patterns. Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris are two guys on the roster who can drive the ball to the basket. They need more than 6 minutes a piece, especially when Gaines was busting it on the defensive end, recording 2 blocks in those six minutes.
I want Georgia basketball to be special. I don't agree with how Fox is building and utilizing his roster. Fox is making the big bucks. Hopefully he knows how we can turn things around so that we can beat Indiana on Monday.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
With that said, the game was fantastic. Guards who could penetrate and dish, lay it up high off the glass, or shoot the three. Big men who could run and jump and block shots. Everyone was competitive. Guys finished with power.
Great coaches, plotting against each other. Teaching their players what to do in certain situtations. Willing their teams to win.
It was big-time basketball and I won't lie-- Despite the teams on the floor, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Will UGA ever get there?
Fujian is a mostly mountainous province in southeast China, just across the water from Taiwan. The province's basketball team, the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association, are a relatively young team, being founded in 1999 and playing their first season in the CBA just a few years ago.
The fact that Sundiata wound up in China was a surprise to me. After he didn't make it this season with the Indiana Pacers, I thought Sundiata might head back to Italy, since he played there previously. It was reported, in fact, that Gaines' former team, Pallacanestro Cantu, made it public that they would like to bring him back. I imagine that the Chinese team offered a lot more money.
Dawgs hoops fans wish Sundiata well in this new phase of his career.
Note: For more on Yada's playing history, click on his name in the blue hypertext below (Label Section). Information on other current and former players (like Terrance Woodbury, Chris Daniels, Takais Brown and Alec Kessler) can be found by inserting their names in the search box in the upper left-hand corner of the Blog, and hitting the return key.
Take a page from Mark Richt. After the blow-out loss to South Carolina, Richt said that the one thing that his team was not going to do was panic. Same thing for Coach Fox. Lot of basketball left to be played. Put the Youngstown State loss behind us and focus on starting fast against Southern Miss.
2. Go Young
I guess one of the most disappointing aspects of the first couple of games has been our seniors' performance. I don't know what I was expecting from Vincent Williams, Sherrard Brantley and John Florveus, but we've got to get quality minutes from those guys. Fox should go young. Get Charles Mann, Brandon Morris and Kenny Gaines out there and let them play through the jitters. Have the seniors come in and back them up, instead of the other way around.
3. Go Small
We have a height advantage over a lot of teams, but it doesn't matter if our bigs cannot score and we're being out-rebounded by 12. Put Brandon Morris at the four spot and team him up with Donte Williams in the post. If Donte Williams is still not eligible this next game, then let Nemi or Tim Dixon play the five. See what happens.
4. Don't Rely on Just One Set
The triangle offense is good if you have Trey Thompkins at the top who is a great shooter, Jeremy Price with a big body to post up, and Travis Leslie to catch lobs off of the flex cut. But without those guys, teams will just push us farther and farther from the basket. Fox has to make adjustments and cobble together some offensive sets more conducive to scoring with the personnel we have.
Use the screen and roll, isolate Charles Mann or Kenny Gaines in the post against a weaker guard, use the old UCLA 1-cut (where the point guard passes to the wing and then breaks toward the basket), try to get our shooters the ball at the top of the key, even use a double high-post set at the free throw line, run KCP off of staggered screens along the base-line. After changing things up a bit, the triangle offense will be more effective.
If Sherrard and Vincent are not shooting well, then make them defensive superstars. Whenever they're in, go to the press. Put Florveus under the basket during the press and have him stop the opponents' fast breaks. See if our defense can get us some easy baskets.
Bottom Line: A total of 3 buckets in a half, all scored by one player, won't get it done. If UGA plays poorly and is non-competitive against Southern Miss, fans will be up in arms. Let's get Donte back as soon as possible, play the young guys and at least impress the fans with our adjustments and defensive effort. We can right the ship, but we need to start baling now.
Monday, November 12, 2012
We'll get better during the year, but the schedule will be tougher. Fox's problem is that without Felton recruits like Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price, we just about have no inside game. We won't beat too many SEC teams chunking the ball up from three.
This is the Progressive Legends Classic. Anybody know if "Flo" has any eligibility?
We're not playing Kentucky, people. This is Youngstown State. It's early in the season, but I challenge anyone to find a UGA game that we've ever been this bad.
It's 21 to 8. Eight points and there are only 2 minutes and change left in the first half.
Maybe KCP will get hot and put up 6 or 7 points in the next couple of minutes.
Now it's 23 to 13. They have the ball and we're on track to score all of 26 points for the entire game. Their guy Steve Ergkle is killing us!
Neither team did much last year. The Youngstown State Penguins went 16 and 15 overall, and 10 and 8 in their conference. UGA had a losing record, going 15 and 17, and Georgia lost 11 out of their 16 SEC games.
The results from each team's first game this new season aren't encouraging. Georgia was very unimpressive in the opener against Jacksonville. Poor shooting, 23 turnovers, and an "awful" defensive effort in the second half, according to Coach Fox. KCP led the Dawgs in scoring, but he shot just 3 of 12 from the floor. Youngstown State won at George Washington, but they didn't look so hot either.
The Dawgs will have to play tough against 6' 10" freshman Bobby Hain, who can score inside and out, and Blake Allen, a 6' 1" senior point guard, who shoots well (hit 4 three-pointers in their opener) and can both rebound and dish the ball effectively.
I expect Fox to give his freshmen more playing time and the Dawgs to win by 7, final score of 70 to 63.
The game is nationally televised on ESPNU. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Yet, winning isn't everything. Trophies, at the end of the day, are just shaped and shiny rocks. What is really meaningful is life. Guys who play hard, do their best, and graduate and make us all proud. Now, if we can win the national championship in the process, then all the better.
I remember people complaining about Tony Dungy, how he couldn't win the Super Bowl. He didn't win it in Tampa, but he set the stage. And when he got to Indiana, he put it all together. Turns out he was a pretty good coach after all.
Mark Richt is a lot like Dungy. Hope the guys who harp on the lack of a national championship don't get what they want and chase Richt out of town. Think of all the programs across the college football landscape which made a coaching change and ended up much worse. Meanwhile, Richt would probably go to a new school and win like crazy.
Who knows? Richt may win it all this year, at Georgia. In the meantime, he is doing things with excellence. Whether he wins or loses the biggest game, Georgia is very fortunate to have Mark Richt as coach of the Dawgs.
Friday, November 2, 2012
The Red and Black article below talks about Coach Fox experimenting with different line-ups. I expect early in the year he will go with upper-classmen as his starters, which would be Donte Williams at center, Nemi Djurisic at power forward, Marcus Thornton at small forward, KCP at the two-guard, and Vincent Williams at the point.
Either way, the change of pace second team would be a good one, with Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines, Brandon Morris, Florveus and John Cannon.
The game will be broadcast live at 7:00 p.m. on georgiadogs.com. Admission to the game is free.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Woodbury went for 31 points in his first outing, but has recently been coming off the bench and scoring less.
I'll update Wood's progress over time.
I suppose that the question is whether any NBA team is a fit for Leslie. Does Travis Leslie have NBA talent?
Leslie is a guy with pretty good speed straight ahead and excellent athleticism up and down. What he has lacked is the side to side quickness and the handle to get around guys.
Some will attribute Leslie being cut to his decision to leave school early. But the fact is that another year with Coach Fox was not going to help his game. Although Fox has a reputation for developing players, in reality our guards played worse last year than the year before. Dustin Ware went from 44 percent in field goal percentage in 2010 to 34 percent in 2011. Gerald Robinson fell off from 44 percent to 43. Brantley managed to go from a paltry 31 percent shooting to 25. Similar story for three-point shooting and assists.
Shucks, Leslie could have injured himself a la Marcus Lattimore. Besides, chances are that Leslie had more of a chance to showcase his skills playing with Trey Thompkins than he would have had running with Marcus Thornton or Donte Williams at the power forward for last year's 15 and 17 squad. I don't begrudge Leslie for bolting to the pro's when he had the chance. Would have loved to see him in the red and black one more year, but after all, it is his career.
The issue going forward for Leslie is how to move that career forward now that he has been cut at the last possible second prior to the season. Other teams have pared their roster down. They're likely not looking to add a player at this point.
Couple of options: Leslie could go play internationally, or he could look for a good D-League team, one on which he can play every night and get better. Although international teams are paying a lot of money these days and Leslie is young enough to enjoy time overseas, I'd probably pick the D-League route, at least for now.
Several NBA guards will not stick this year, either through injury or bad decisions or something else. Leslie has to keep his head in the game, get good counsel from family and other advisors, and be ready.
Good luck, Travis.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
This video was impressive.
Man, I sure hope that the Dawgs can have a good season. There are no easy victories in the SEC, though, so we'd better be working hard.
On one notable occasion, a Florida player was called for a penalty (I think it was illegal substitution). When the player came to the sideline, Muschamp glared at him, almost going cross-eyed in his anger. Then, after an inordinately long stare-down, Muschamp got in the guy's face and screamed (if my lip-reading was correct), "G-D-you!"
I don't want to make more of it than it is, but I don't want to miss the point either.
Football is an emotional game. Coaches have pretty wide latitude in how they motivate their players and instill discipline. However it seems to me that Muschamp crossed the line.
I want the Florida coach to be passionate about the game. It's good for the sport. I do not want him, however, to have a coronary on the sidelines, nor do I want Muschamp to go all Woody Hayes on a player.
This post isn't even so much aimed at Muschamp as it is a reminder to myself. Attitude is important.
When Georgia lost to South Carolina, not having even showed up for the game, Mark Richt didn't jump and scream, nor did he throw players under the bus.
A lot of UGA fans were livid. Losing a key game was bad. Losing 35 to 7 was worse. Now Coach Richt wasn't angry, not throwing his proverbial visor? That was too much to take. Many wanted Richt fired. "He can't win the big game", "can't beat a top ten team," "can't motivate his players". On an on. But Richt was calm under fire. He said "the one thing Georgia was not going to do was panic." He knew that football is only a game, and that the game itself is played over a long season.
Richt wants to win. He is just as passionate, if not more so, than other coaches. He is just as conscientious about the requirements of coaching at a proud institution like Georgia. The difference is that he channels his passion in positive ways.
And that's a difference that makes a huge difference. I sure am glad we have Coach Richt at the helm. If I were the parent of a player with lots of options for which college to attend, no way I would send him to a school with an out of control coach. I would, however, be proud for my son to spend key formative years with Coach Richt.
Not only does the attitude of the coach pay dividends in recruiting, it more often than not shows up in the wins and losses columns. When Georgia's Aaron Murray was having the worst day of his career, when Malcolm Mitchell had let his excitement get the better of him, when Florida was driving with two minutes to play, when it came to crunch time, the Dawgs stayed calm and we were able to hunker down and make a play.
That was simply the most dominant defensive performance by one player that I have ever seen at any level. Thirteen tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four sacks, and the game-saving play when Florida was just about to score. Then in follow-up interviews he gave the credit to the team and the coaching staff.
Truly amazing. Congratulations, Jarvis Jones.
Friday, October 26, 2012
I linked below the Mark Fox interview. The two most exciting bits of information for me are that Marcus Thornton is back to form, and that Coach Fox is as high as he is on Brandon Morris. Morris will not step back and rain threes on an opposing team. But that's not what we need. We need a long defender and a person who can take it to the hoop and finish.
Other than those highlights, I'll let the video speak for itself.
Note: Fans may be interested in seeing the other SEC coaches talk about their teams (Auburn scares me). After you watch the Mark Fox interview, the interview with Auburn Coach Tony Barbee follows. Enjoy.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Last year we missed on all the high-ranked big men in the state of Georgia. This year it's more of the same. Why bother?
It would be fun if UGA started to bring in a good number of elite recruits. However, in basketball you only have so many scholarships to give. No need to follow ten or twelve guys if we only have three slots open.
Besides, if signing day comes and Georgia doesn't get any high-level recruits with the three 'ships we do have, it's a tremendous let-down. The new coach over at Tech has been hitting home-runs in recruiting.
This is the fifth signing class for Mark Fox and we're swinging and missing, swinging and missing. I don't get it.
Maybe next year...
Or the year after that.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Kentucky and Florida should be good. UK will continue to "out-talent" the rest of the league and Billy Donovan down at Florida is a great coach. I was thinking that Florida was a year away from making a splash in basketball again, but Rothstein believes that Patric Young will take a huge step forward during the 2012/2013 season. Besides that, they didn't do too shabbily last year (Elite Eight loss to Louisville), and you can see from this article that Young and Prather are built to be ready to play.
The ranking for Georgia seems about right until we know whether Marcus Thornton is healthy. I'm concerned about the point guard position, too. Charles Mann and Vincent Williams will have to play a lot, and play well.
Rothstein named KCP as a member of his "Preseason First Team". He did not have any Dawgs in his "Ten Breakout Players", nor in his "Ten Freshmen to Watch". He had a total of five players listed in his "Under the Radar Freshmen" picks, so I'm not surprised that Morris, Gaines and Mann were not included. Our three new perimeter guys can play, though, so maybe they'll be motivated to go out and show that they are just as good as the other freshmen entering the SEC.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
ESPN has him at just two stars. Rivals and Scout give him a three-star rating. He's not a top-fifty type of recruit, but I think he has enough up-side to help UGA's hoops squad. He could grow an inch from his 6' 4" height and with strength & conditioning, boost his leaping ability.
I looked at the available videos on YouTube. Parker seems to have good fundamentals. Not great lift, but he does have good release on his shot. Appears to be able to go to his left or to his right, but from all I saw is more apt to shoot the ball rather than take it strong to the rim.
Some followers of the basketball program think that Parker's commitment clearly gets the train rolling for Georgia recruiting. Others are disappointed. I'm in the middle.
The challenge for Coach Fox is really the nature of hoops recruiting. UGA football coach Mark Richt is set to bring in a 2013 class of somewhere around 30 guys. With that many upcoming signees, Richt can take a chance on a few guys and see what happens. In basketball, obviously, the situation is different. Most years a basketball coach can bring in three, possibly four players.
Fox has to move the program forward with little room for error. Georgia fans would like to see him bring in the big-splash recruits. However, if Fox can't get them right now, then all is not lost. The key is to make sure he brings in the right players for his system. Guys who can help the Dawgs win. Recruits with the mix of skill and academics appropriate for Georgia.
The basketball team has three seniors, being Vincent Williams, Sherrard Brantley, and John Florveus-- a point guard, shooting guard and center. To address the impending departures, Fox first secured a commitment from J.J. Frazier, a 5' 10" point guard. How would he handle his other two spots? Well, now we know half of the answer. Bring in Juwan Parker. Shooting guard, 4.0 gpa, good pick-up.
What about the center slot? Is there another John Egbunu out there? Followers of the Blog from last year know that I was high on the 6' 10" center from right in our backyard. Egbunu has a bit of Shaquille O'Neal in his game. Can't get 'em all, but since we didn't get Tony Parker for 2012 or Egbunu for 2013, I'd like to see Fox find and bring in a power player with the last 2013 scholarship.
Bottom line on 2013 recruiting? Juwan Parker and J.J. Frazier are not the five-star players that gravitate to Kentucky, but they will help Georgia get better over time. I like the Parker commitment. We're heading in a positive direction and I think the 2012 class of Brandon Morris, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines will propel Georgia toward the top of the SEC. Wins and the resulting increase in fan support will help Fox recruit for 2013 and 2014.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Jackson came to UGA from Butler Community College in Kansas, where he averaged 26 points and 9 rebounds per game and was named Junior College Player of the Year. He was recruited to Georgia by head coach Hugh Durham and assistant coach Mark Slonaker, joining a star-studded signing class that included Carlos Strong, Pertha Robinson, Terrell Bell and Shandon Anderson. Cleveland averaged 9 points and 3 rebounds per game during his UGA playing career and was the leading scorer for Coach Durham's 500th win.
After graduating in 1994, followed by a brief stint playing overseas and a period of time coaching at the high school level, Jackson was again called by Mark Slonaker, who had become the head coach at Mercer University. This time, Slonaker asked Jackson to join his staff as an assistant coach. Jackson accepted and thereafter coached at Mercer for seven years.
I believe that Jackson is taking the assistant coaching position recently vacated by Jonas Hayes, when Hayes left to join the UGA staff.
Cleveland is a sharp guy and I couldn't be happier for him and his family.
Congratulations, Coach Jackson!
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
So far the scene of Vanderbilt walk-on Marc Panu being awarded a scholarship has gotten over 210,000 hits.
Congratulations, to a young man who obviously deserves it.
They are predicting that we will finish 10th in the SEC, which admittedly counts as "improvement" given the fact that the SEC has expanded from 12 to 14 teams. However, Georgia finished 11th last year (in a tie for 10th, but Auburn held the tie-breaker), so a move to 10th in 2012/2013 is like running in mud-- lots of effort, but no real progress and no one wants to watch.
For what it's worth, I think the Dawgs will do better than 10th place. Sure, we lost Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson from last year's team, but the combination of Kenny Gaines, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris more than makes up for it. If we add a healthy Marcus Thornton to a more experienced KCP, Georgia should fight our way into the middle of the pack in the SEC. We should be better than Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Arkansas. If that's true, we're at 7th. If we perform well and get past Florida and a much-improved Auburn squad, then we're in the top 5 of the SEC.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Coliseum Visit and Victory Over All-Star Italy
Hard to get much in the way of specifics from the footage of the last game, but here are some of my general impressions:
1) Georgiadogs.com has stepped up its game
Have to give the official site and the sports marketing department some props. Georgiadogs.com is much improved. I wanted to see more video, but I was impressed that we had any in the first place. The music was a nice touch. Gave a real feel of Italy.
Would be good to have box scores posted, if they exist.
2) Player Development
Tim Dixon got a chance to play major minutes. I don't think he will challenge for a starting slot, but he'll be needed at some point during the season. I'd like to see him put on 10 more pounds this year, and 10 or more next year. With his frame, he can do it, and the added muscle will improve his game.
Houston Kessler hit a long-range jumper during the last game. He's bound for a red-shirt year, according to Fox. If he hits the weights and the track so that he can really run the floor, he can be a contributor.
Saw that Sherrard Brantley hit a three. Looked like his footwork has improved. Hope that Fox is really working with him so that Brantley will put the ball on the floor and drive effectively.
Can really tell the difference in philosophy in the games. Tennessee beat All-Star Italy by close to 50 points, if memory serves me. Best I can tell, though, they were playing their starters for a good portion of the game. Mark Fox focused more on building the skills and confidence of his bench.
3) Offensive Sets
Now that Fox has a deeper roster and more time for his team to learn and practice running the triangle offense, he has the opportunity to add in different concepts to the offense. I'd like to see him experiment with a dribble-drive element, ways to set up lobs to his leapers and big men, schemes to attack zone defenses, and the like.
In any case, the Italy trip was no doubt a fantastic educational and team-bonding experience. Hope it leads to a special year.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Corey was quoted as saying that he has passions in two different fields. Though he loved biology and studying things in petri dishes, he also loved basketball. In the end, he believed that sports management should be his field for further study.
Corey has already experienced some of the benefits of his decision. He was brought on as an intern by the Stanford Cardinals.
Corey would make a great sports agent or a coach for some program, so I'm looking forward to seeing how his career unfolds.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Given his footwork problems and his seeming lack of desire, I wasn't surprised that Rashaad didn't stick with New York. Add to that his poor shooting form (he shot 25 percent from the free throw line during the Dawgs' 2005/2006 season and just 33 percent in 2006/2007), and I felt that his best bet was to be content with playing internationally.
Well, I'm starting to wonder again. He is fairly athletic, a legitimate 7-feet, and has a solid muscular build (fans may remember that he went from 210 to 250 while at UGA, and became the team weight-lifting leader). He is still young, having just turned 25 in May. To top things off, Singleton has apparently made a marked improvement in his shooting touch.
Singleton shot 73 percent from the free throw line in game earlier this year, completing a stat sheet of 25 points, 12 boards and 6 blocks in the Japanese League. Can Rashaad realize his potential and make it to the NBA? You might think that the answer is still, no, but then again, you need look no farther than the Atlanta Hawks' roster from last year to conclude that the answer is instead a definite maybe.
Jason Collins is the same size as Rashaad, being 7-feet and 255 pounds. Collins averaged just 1 point, 1 rebound, 0 assists and 0 blocked shots in 10 minutes per night for the Hawks this past season, shooting a paltry 40 percent from the field and a miserable 46 percent from the line. You would think that kind of production would have him on his way out of the NBA. Not hardly. Collins has had an 11-year career in the League, and he just signed a free agent contract with the Boston Celtics.
The Hawks signed another back-up center in February 2012, being 6' 11" 265-pound Erick Dampier. Dampier joined the squad and posted averages of 0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0 assists in 5 1/2 minutes per game, shooting 12 percent from the field. Admittedly, Dampier is nearing the end of his career, but my point is that Rashaad could hardly do worse. Shucks, how do you even shoot 12 percent when most of your attempts are right under the bucket?
A quick look at the rosters of the Hawks' competitors and the production of guys like,
Joel Przybilla, Milwaukee (2 points and 5 boards);
Jamaal Magloire, Toronto (1 point, 3 rebounds on 38 percent shooting);
Cole Aldrich, OKC (2 points, 2 boards in 7 minutes per game);
Solomon Alibi, Toronto (2 points and 3 boards last season, and just 0 points and 1 board per game, with 20 percent shooting from the field his rookie season);
Tony Battie, Philadelphia (1 point and 2 rebounds on 37 percent shooting);
Eddie Curry, Miami (2 points and 1 rebound); and,
Desagana Diop, Charlotte (1 point, 3 boards on 35 percent from the floor);
shows that if you are big enough to get even a couple of points and rebounds and body up on the opposing team's center, there can be a place for you in the NBA.
Rashaad looks the part, and if he can hit free throws consistently now, maybe the Knicks or even the Hawks should invite him to camp.
A few snippets from the game are up on the georgiadogs.com web site.
Looks like Donte Williams and KCP aren't playing much at all. Not much in the way of minutes for Florveus either, if the video is any indication.
Tim Dixon is grabbing his share of rebounds. He also is seen on the video hitting a face-up jumper. Anything we get during the year from Dixon is gravy, IMO.
Would love to see an unofficial box score. Kenny Gaines hit a couple of threes. Maybe georgiadogs.com will give us all the stats when the trip is over.
Very valuable trip for the Dawgs.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
1) KCP has to increase his shooting percentage. He's shooting under 40 percent from the field, and below 70 percent from the line. I've talked about his shooting form a few times. If he can be consistent in doing the small things, his percentage should go up. Putting him back at his natural position should help him get out on the fast break more consistently, which will lead to easier buckets.
2) Marcus Thornton has to come back healthy. We haven't seen what Thornton can do. If he can get back to 100 percent, the Dawgs will be able to play a much more exciting brand of basketball.
3) Bigs will have to defend and rebound like crazy. We don't need a ton of points from the inside players, but we do need them to do the dirty work.
4) One of the new guys has to perform. Between Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris, Georgia has brought in real talent. In my mind, Charles Mann is the key because he will be running the point.
5) We have to avoid injuries, suspensions, and off-the-court problems.
If UGA can use this early season trip to Italy, the associated 10 extra practice sessions, and the three games against European competition to get off to a good start, maybe this year will be special.
Dawgs Exploit Home Court Advantage
Friday, August 3, 2012
Uruguay (2010/2011), where he averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds for Club Anastasia;
Ecuador (2011), averaging 10 points and 10 boards for Club Deportivo Malvort;
Venezuela, briefly playing for Club Panteras de Miranda;
Uruguay again (2011/2012), this time for Club Atletico Olimpia, where he notched 15 points and 8 boards per contest; and
I have enjoyed following his career and giving occasional updates, like the article below.
Unfortunately, Jackson tore the ligaments in his knee earlier this year (end of March 2012). The Argentinian press interviewed Ajax back in April to get an update on how he was recuperating.
Good to see Jackson give the international gesture of well-being, the thumbs up, in his photo. Jackson was quoted as saying that he would have to be away from basketball for at least 3 months. Hopefully, he's well on his way to full recovery by now. More later.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Begins at 1:37 mark
A few things that stood out to me:
Tim Dixon looks taller. Could be the camera angle, though.
Donte Williams is definitely bigger. He has put on a good bit of weight in his upper body.
Looks like KCP still lets his arm drift right on his shooting motion. When he keeps his elbow in, he's a terrific shooter.
May have to adjust my conclusions on Marcus Thornton. He is moving slowly in the first part of the video, but right at the end he participates in a drill and seems to be able to run and cut pretty well. He may be healed enough by the time the season comes around to get over the physical and mental hurdles of his injury.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Lots of good stuff on there, including the following:
Donte Williams apology
Update on Marcus Thornton
Progress of the freshmen
Link to player interviews with Vincent Williams and Nemanja Djurisic
Great job Georgiadogs.com!
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
ABH on Dawgs Trip
The most exciting tid-bit from the article was the description of how Charles Mann is doing. According to Fox, Mann has natural ability to pass the ball, and "is shooting the ball pretty well right now."
Since the assistant coaches will be running the show, I'd like them to experiment with various line-ups. Let's start pressing the ball and see if we can pick up some steals and fast breaks.
Should be a good trip for the team and the individual players who will remember this experience for the rest of their lives.
Monday, July 30, 2012
The main take-away for me is that Coach Fox expects Marcus Thornton to make a contribution this year. We can only hope. It's hard to come back from knee surgery, Thornton is not healthy enough to play during the Italy trip, and I realistically cannot see him doing much offensively in November and December. We'll see.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I chuckled about the fact that Scout needs some editing help, but I'm really happy about having some positive news from the hoops squad. Fox has reason to be more optimistic this season than last, and a big part of it ties to the development of Florveus.
Florveus already has skills that a lot of other bigs don't. He has good hands and he can run the floor. The issue last season was that Florveus didn't have the strength and post moves to gain more minutes or get more than two shot attempts per game.
I missed the georgiadogs.com video on Florveus from back in March, so I'm posting the link to it in the blog. The video has clips from last season that show what Florveus can do, and it also details his commitment to work during the off-season.
If Florveus can keep lifting weights and maintain his athleticism, he'll be much more effective in the post. As it stands he can occasionally hit a jump-hook with either hand and catch the ball cleanly to finish at the rim. He also has decent form on his shot.
Fox was quoted by the Athens Banner Herald as saying that "Florveus has been the most dominant in the paint" during the five summer practices held to date. I hope the Italy trip gives Florveus a chance to showcase his improvement. Will he have the core strength to establish position and maintain it on the block? Will Florveus have the attitude to go after every rebound and protect the basket on defense? Will he run the floor so that he can get easy baskets? If so, his "no excuses" approach to training may make a big contribution to more UGA wins in the upcoming 2012/2013 season.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
A few things stuck out to me:
1) John Florveus looks Bigger
Perhaps he'll make a big step forward this year.
2) Kenny Gaines Is Ready to Play
Doesn't quite have the hops that Travis Leslie does, but Gaines has some athleticism in his game. Will be fun to watch him play as he learns the system.
3) Marcus Thornton Still a Question Mark
He was at practice. Didn't see him participating in any drills, though. Will he be able to approach 90% of where he was physically when he was in high school? Man, I hope so.
4) Sure Could have used Tony Parker
Sigh. The big man by committee approach will have to work.
Friday, May 4, 2012
May I please have my returns back? I actually like having more than one paragraph in my posts.
If any of my readers know how to hard-wire any returns into my text, post a comment and share your wealth.
Note: I got the old interface back, so I hope my article above now has returns. We'll see in just a minute.
Hooray! It worked. Now I just have to edit all my other old articles.
Woodbury was even better during the playoffs. In the finals against the L.A. D-Fenders, Terrance averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds. Austin won the championship last weekend, and Terrance was a big part of the story. He scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the championship game, adding a steal, a block and an assist to his totals.
What’s next for Woodbury? He’s hoping to make an NBA roster. The natural fit would be for the Toros’ NBA sponsor, the San Antonio Spurs, to give him a look, but Woodbury would fit with any team seeking an inexpensive shooter and great locker room guy.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Kessler was an 11th grader when the video was taken, but you get a sense for the strengths and weaknesses of his game. Note the difference between Kenny Gaines and Kessler.
Anyway, put 2 inches and 40 pounds on Houston and teach him how to get physical underneath the basket and Georgia might have a serviceable power forward.
Tony Parker would have been a contributor right away. Probably would have started as Georgia's low post scoring threat.
Kessler is not that. He won't come in and get much in the way of minutes his first year, and he's not a low post guy, which is what Georgia needed. He will take some time to develop.
I'll be honest and say that I'm not impressed. Kessler is unranked by Scout, and I had hoped that we were past signing guys who are low-profile, diamond in the rough types. Don't we have a roster-full of those guys?
On the positive side, Georgia could have actually found a diamond. He'll do well academically and he obviously wanted to come to UGA. Kessler has range on his shooting, and he might grow some. He'll need to toughen up some, best I can tell.
Big men develop slowly, and who's to say that Houston won't turn into a superstar like his uncle Alec did?
Monday, April 23, 2012
1) We can't close the deal
Coming in second or third for a recruit is like being one digit off for each number on the lotto. Bunch of woulda, coulda, shoulda. There are no moral victories in recruiting. We either get the players or we don't.
2) We can't build a tradition
We get an elite player once every so often. This is the fourth recruiting class for Fox, and other than KCP, we have 3-stars or guys who aren't ranked. We're not making the big splash in recruiting that builds serious momentum. Like Calipari or not, he recruits big-time players, he wins with them, and he generally gets his pick of the next class of top-rated high school seniors. Momentum in recruiting leads to success and sustained success builds tradition.
3) Hard to Win
Georgia came in 11th out of 12 SEC teams this past season. The team below us, South Carolina, fired their coach after the season. Managing through transition is hard for any basketball team, and I think that South Carolina will end up last again next year. But that's the entire point. Georgia fired the last guy a few years ago and we all hoped that the Dawgs would make a major step forward. I particularly wanted to see us bring in some great recruits. But it didn't happen.
So when we didn't sign top players, our hope for being competitive was that the last coach's recruits would stick around. That didn't happen either.
The 2011/2012 season showed that we didn't have the horses to compete. What now?
We'll be better this coming season. No doubt. But we have so far to go. We don't have a legitimate low post scorer. With Tony Parker Georgia would have been one of the top three or four teams in the conference, in my opinion. Without him, we can still get there, but it will be a lot harder to win. My best guess is that we will move toward the middle of the SEC this year, maybe even be sixth out of the fourteen teams, but that's as optimistic as I can be today. We could very well end up in the bottom third again.
4) No Fan Base
It was good to see fans hopeful that Georgia would sign a big-time recruit. Parker's presence would have filled the stands right off the bat. We had a lot of fans ready today for some good news. After we were strung along for weeks and weeks, and then for what seemed like forever during the press conference, Tony Parker chose UCLA, going clear across the country instead of staying to play for the state school. Our fan base was deflated. "We didn't really care anyway," our fans groused. After a while, even the guys who like hoops will decide that our program isn't getting anywhere.
5) No Elite Recruiters
How did we miss out on all of the top big men in the state? Here's how. UGA doesn't have ties to the best players. When Felton was let go, UGA opted to give the basketball program reins to a guy from out west. Fox might be a great hire, but I would submit that the jury is still out.
I question his understanding of recruiting. His first major move was to bring in out-of-state assistant coaches. That's not the way the game is played, folks. To recruit with the best, you have to have the right staff. Nothing against Fox, Palmore and others, but they're being out-recruited by Memphis, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Alabama, Auburn, Virginia and Maryland.
Wrap-up: Missing on Tony Parker was a big deal. Here's hoping Tevin Glass is eligible and that he will consider coming to UGA.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Article below includes comments from Mark Fox, his former college coach at Nevada.
We'll see if the Lakers bring Sessions back. Sessions has made it obvious to all that he wants to stay with the Lakers. Could work against him during negotiation time, but perhaps by letting management know, Sessions is putting getting a deal done above Hollywood-type drama. The Lakers have been playing him 30 minutes a game, so LA coach Mike Brown has likewise made his appreciation for Sessions obvious. We'll see how it turns out. If Sessions stays healthy and continues to perform in the post-season, Kupchak will do his best to make a good multi-year deal happen.
Here's hoping that Fox can develop a fantastic point guard (Charles Mann?) for the Dawgs.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Watson has also been elected to join the NFLPA's executive committee. An article on the award, with pictures of Watson, his wife and daughter can be found below.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
The PIT will bring in numerous professional scouts to evaluate players for upcoming NBA and international rosters. Current NBA players such as Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Jason Maxiel, and UGA's own Sundiata Gaines have made it to the NBA after showcasing their talent in the PIT.
Several other SEC players will compete in the 2012 tournament.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Louisville has a lot of fan support in both men and women's basketball. Although I'd like to see Newbauer back on the men's side of basketball, there is a lot of upside for him in the women's game.
He'll likely be a head coach in the next five years.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Frazier will have to grow some, develop his body a lot and learn to go to his right much more effectively. I want to be fair to our recent commit, but it's hard to dismiss the memory of seeing Kentucky put together their squad to win the SEC and ultimately the national championship.
Would Calipari have even considered Frazier? Would any other team in the SEC have offered or given Frazier their first 2013 scholarship?
Unless I missed something, my read is that Frazier will have a very difficult time defending bigger point guards. He'll struggle with finishing at the rim against SEC competition. Maybe we can get Tony Parker to commit and stay for at least a couple of years. Frazier's role might then be to break the press and set up for easy looks after our opponents double-team Parker in the post.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
That gives me hope that UGA's big men can make a big step forward this spring and summer. If Parker comes to Georgia and is backed up by Florveus and Cannon, that sounds like the strongest center rotation Georgia has had in a long time.
Parker has made a point, is Player of the Year, and with his work ethic, perhaps he'll be a lottery pick one of these days. Congrats, to you sir.
ESPN recently published a blog article on which college would be the best fit for Parker, and UGA was not even mentioned in the analysis.
The article did state at the very beginning that UGA was a finalist for Parker's recruitment. However, when ESPN writer Jason Jordan followed up and interviewed Paul Giancardi, ESPN national recruitment director, about Tony's possible choices, Giancardi was quoted as talking about Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Ohio State, and Memphis, without saying a word about Georgia.
I still think that there's a good chance that Fox will get Parker. Of course having Ohio State in the Final Four gives them a decided advantage, but they cannot start an all-Miller Grove front line like UGA can. They are hundreds of miles away, while UGA is probably just an hour from Tony's house.
I give ESPN props for doing a good story on Parker's recruitment, that being Jason Jordan's "fly on the wall" article located here. I hope that Giancardi, however, has seriously underestimated the recruiting prowess of Coach Fox.
Let's get this done.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Jacob certainly got to see a lot of the country during his hoops-playing days. He played for two different high schools in Louisiana, graduated in 2006 and then in 2007 took a fifth year at a prep school in Virginia (Hargrave). Jacob then made his way to Athens, playing basketball for Coach Felton, but was sidelined by a stress fracture in his foot. Jacob ended up red-shirting the year that the Dawgs won the SEC Tournament (2007/2008).
The next year, Jacob was on the move. He transferred to Chipola College in Florida for the 2008/2009 season and played a year of juco ball. After Chipola, Jacob signed with Oregon for the 2009/2010 year. He contributed some, but in 2010, hurt his knee and had to have arthroscopic surgery.
Jacob played out his eligibility in three years of ball at Oregon, averaging 5.9 points per game for his career.
Although Jacob could perhaps play international ball, it is more likely that his travel as a basketball player has come to a halt. In any case, I wish him luck wherever his future takes him.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The Clippers obviously believed that Travis would benefit from practicing with the team as much as any improvement in his game from playing against D-League competition. It was good to hear Leslie's take on the experience.
Monday, March 12, 2012
The Clippers are playing the Celtics right now. The Clippers could use some help. They look a little stagnant in the half-court offense.
But the real reason I'm posting this video is because of the sheer absurdity of Gerald Green's play. I don't think I've ever seen a guy catch an alley-oop and pretty much put his entire head over the rim. That's an NBA slam dunk competition winning dunk done going full speed during an actual game.
His team, the Bakersfield Jam, beat the Idaho Stampede Saturday night.
In 4 games so far, Leslie is shooting 56 percent, and averaging 13 points and 4 boards in 21 minutes per night.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Gaines Shows the Complete Package
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I'm not happy that we had a losing season and we finished 11th out of 12 teams in the SEC. Next year Texas A&M and Missouri will join the league. Had the expansion occurred this year, we would have been 13th out of 14 teams (Texas A&M is arguably better than we are and Missouri is currently 30 and 4 on the year).
I know people say that we have never been successful in basketball, but does it really have to remain that way? We just have to step up in basketball and mine the talent in the Atlanta area. I hope we can do it without another sea change in our coaching ranks.
Please, no more woulda' coulda's. Our focus has to be playing with the guys we have, not those we don't. I understand that Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie left early. I'm tired of hearing that excuse. The key point is that Thompkins and Leslie were Felton's recruits. The way to guard against a downturn because of inherited players going to the pro's is
a) Convince the inherited players to commit to the program and stay in school, or, even better,
b) Recruit your own talented players.
We failed at convincing them to stay, if we ever attempted to do so, and we also failed to bring in a low post scorer. We own it, so let's move on.
The bottom line is as disappointed as I am with this year's 15 and 17 season, I do have some cautious optimism for the future. Here's why:
1) Recruiting has improved
KCP is a player. He'll be better next year. We didn't get a bunch of the players we wanted this year, but we're getting closer. Charles Mann is a tall point guard who although was not in the Rivals 150 was the best at his position in the state. Kenny Gaines is a powerful two-guard who has a great shot and fantastic leaping ability. Brandon Morris is not really a shooter, but he is a tall, lean player who can compete in the SEC. Morris defends well, gets buckets in transition, passes well for a big man and can handle the ball against the press. All three of those guys were on high school teams which won the state championship in their division. Good to recruit winners.
2) Georgia will Rely Less on the Three-Point Shot
I don't mind shooting threes if we can make'em. The problem was that we would hoist up shot after shot from behind the arc while hitting a low percentage. And it seemed as though Fox didn't know how to adjust. We only had one guy this year who could consistently create his own shot-- Gerald Robinson. We didn't press, we didn't change the offense to post up our guards, we didn't go to the 1-3-1 to get more steals in the half-court.
Next year, things should be better. Even though we were unable to recruit a pure shooter (Evan Nolte was a guy we went after, but he ended up at UVA), perhaps that's for the best. Each of our three signees can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, which should result in making Georgia harder to defend. We should also get more free throws.
3) The SEC next year will be Kentucky and Everybody Else
Kentucky will lose some guys to the NBA this year. Calipari is unconcerned. They will bring in their normal haul of 5-star guys to replace them and they'll keep truckin'. I will refrain from making a detailed analysis, but my point in short is that although Kentucky will continue to have elite talent, the jury is out on some of the other teams.
Vandy will be down next year. Ezeli, Goulbourne, Taylor, Tchiengang and Tinsley will all graduate this summer. Dai-Jon Parker, Kedren Johnson and John Jenkins are likely to be there for the 2012/2013 season, but Vanderbilt didn't do much in recruiting for 2012. Who knows? Jenkins may bolt for the pro ranks. This year they both out-shot us and out-athleted us. Not so, next year. Florida has some talent, but we beat them this year. Next year, they are bringing in guards. As long as we can play them relatively even in the post, Georgia should have a decent shot against Billy Donovan's squad.
South Carolina was last place in the league and they will still struggle. Mississippi and Mississippi State will be tough, but not significantly better than Georgia. Alabama and Auburn are on their way up, but the Crimson Tide will lose JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell may not come back. Auburn will lose Kenny Gabriel and although Barbee has recruited quite well, they finished this year one spot ahead of Georgia during the regular season, so they have a ways to go. Besides, who knows where this Varez Ward point-shaving situation will take them?
So even though Georgia wasn't a barn-burner in recruiting for 2012, in my opinion we did about as well as the other SEC teams that do not have blue grass.
4) Marcus Thornton may get better
Not sure about this one, but anyone who has followed his career knows that Marcus Thornton is hurting. Can he come back and be the explosive player he was in high school? Who knows. How good would Blake Griffin be if he couldn't jump? It makes a big difference when a player has knee problems. Let's give Thornton the summer and fall for his surgery and rehabilitation. If he does recover his leaping ability, he will be a significant boost to the team's performance.
5) Georgia has height
As they say, you can't teach 7-feet. Call them projects if you will, but John Florveus and John Cannon are listed as 7' and 6' 11" respectively. Even if the roster listed on Yahoo exaggerates things just a tad, Florveus and Cannon are in that 6' 10" range and reasonably athletic. They're not elite scorers by any stretch of the imagination, but they can run the floor and catch the basketball. Put 20 pounds of muscle each on Florveus, Cannon and Donte Williams during the off-season, and all of the sudden Georgia has a formidable-looking post rotation.
6) Two and Out
Coach Fox develops his bench. I don't much care for the two fouls and you're out rule for the first half, but as we saw in the Vanderbilt game in the SEC Tournament, utilization of the rule forces guys to be ready to play and in fact leads them to get minutes on the floor in key situations. Florveus and Cannon have had playing time this year. That experience can only give them confidence for future seasons.
7) No Flame-Outs
There is little margin for error on a basketball roster. For the most part, the football team can survive and adjust without missing a beat if two or more of their players flame out, or are lost due to suspension or academic reasons. Not true for basketball. If a couple of guys flame out in hoops, the entire trajectory of the season can change. Mark Fox has a roster of good guys. No arrests, drug issues, suspensions for not going to class, etc. While they did not win a lot of games, they did not lose them either for non-basketball reasons.
8) Tony Parker
Georgia is still in the discussion for Parker's recruitment. That's a great sign. We could very well have an all-Miller Grove starting front line next year. I've got my fingers crossed. If Tony Parker suits up in the red and black, Georgia becomes a projected top-tier team in the SEC.
Hope springs eternal. Maybe the hope I have for Georgia's basketball program will all be for naught and next year we will still be in the lower half of the SEC. Let's pull for the guys. Bear with me and tell me what you think will happen next year...
Friday, March 9, 2012
Nemi Receives Props from Stansbury
Proud of our squad.
Now, can we do it again? Upset Vandy? Anything is possible. Vandy is a complete team with shooters from deep and athletic 3 and 4 men. Let's lace 'em up and see what happens. I'd love for UGA to get into the NCAA's again.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
I laughed out loud at the impersonations. They had him pretty much spot on.
Hall of Fame
Thanks, Coach Durham, for the all the contributions you made both to individual players and the Georgia basketball program.
1. Carlton French does a nice job on milton.sportzcast.com. It's great to be able to watch the videos on demand (I mention the web site here just in case any of the readers want to watch the game as well). Mr. French has a future in sportscasting if he gets the right breaks. If he doesn't then I suppose he can look for Buffy and Jodie and see if he can get paid for taking care of them.
2. Missing out on Robert Carter was huge. Carter does not appear to play hard all the time, but the skills are definitely there. With the right coaching, he should be a good one for Tech.
3. Notwithstanding #2 above, hopefully we'll get serious consideration from Trayvon Reed. Dude is a 7-foot sophomore. By the time he's ready to graduate, he could be a top-25 recruit. Catches the ball well and finishes around the hoop. How many 7-footers fail because they can't catch and finish?
4. We should be all over Tevin Glass. He scored 25 points, doubling Robert Carter's output. Glass will no doubt be a perimeter player in college, but he looks like he can play SEC ball right now. I like his skills better than Evan Nolte's. As I have said previously, offer the guy (Glass) a scholarship, but ask him not to commit until we know what Tony Parker is going to do.
5. Shaq Johnson is the second coming of Travis Leslie. Unfortunately he will be playing for Auburn. Great burst of speed and incredible leaping ability. Doesn't have the outside shot just yet, but if he works hard on that, he could be a fantastic player.
6. Charles Mann is impressive. He drives the ball with authority and has nice release on his shot. Missed a few free throws, but his form was good on each one. Showed the ability to shoot the floater in the lane. Has the size of Vern Fleming with probably more upside if he continues to improve his overall speed and ball-handling. Love the look of him playing the point up top on the 1-3-1 zone. I also like the fact that he wants the ball, knows he's a point guard and seems to be able to drive it with equal speed going left or right.
7. Don't see any other team beating Milton. They have to be the favorite to win the state championship.