I was informed that one of the basketball message boards responded to my mentioning of Dave Bliss as part of a good haul of big men for UGA during the Felton years. Bear in mind that I said that Dave was part of the mix. In any case, a more detailed look at Dave's individual production may help explain my reasoning.
It's been a while, given that Bliss graduated five years ago. Let's review the stats to refresh our memories.
In his senior year Dave averaged 8 points and 6 boards, shooting 54 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line.
Bliss vs. UGA Current Posts
Sad to say, but UGA's current team doesn't have a big man anywhere near Dave's stats. Here are the averages, scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, for our post players. I include this year's partial season and full season production from last year to capture the impact of SEC competition.
Dave Bliss: 8 and 6 (54 percent)
John Florveus: 3 and 3 (57 percent). 2 and 2 last year (43 percent).
Tim Dixon: 2 and 2. 0 and 1 last year (43 percent).
Donte Williams: 5 and 5 (47 percent). 40 percent from the line. 8 and 5 last year (47 percent).
John Cannon: 4 and 2 this year. 1 and 1 last year (38 percent).
Nemanja Djurisic: 8 and 4 (37 percent). 7 and 4 last year (40 percent).
Marcus Thornton: 4 and 4 (36 percent). 3 and 5 last year (28 percent).
Out of our six post players, the guy wirh production closest to Dave's is Nemi. Keep in mind that Nemi shoots a lot poorer percentage and and does not defend as well. For example, Nemi had 7 blocks for the full year last year. Dave had five times as many (34).
Bliss vs. Today's SEC Bigs
To not make the post too long, I'll spare readers the details, but suffice it to say that if you examined Dave's production against the 25 or so other post players in the SEC today, Dave would arguably be somewhere near the top five. He would trail Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky), Robert Chubb (Auburn), Reginald Buckner (Ole Miss) and Patric Young (Florida),-- but not by much.
For example, compare Patric Young, starting center for an elite Florida team. Young gets 11.5 and 6 so far in this young season. He averaged 10 and 6 for the full season last year. That's just one bucket more per game than Dave.
Was Dave as skilled as Trey Thompkins? No. Thompkins would get you 17 points and 8 rebounds a game, while shooting close to 50 percent. Thompkins not only scored twice as much, he also was more versatile. Trey hit 79 3-pointers in three years, shooting 36 percent from behind the arc. Dave didn't shoot any. Thompkins and Jeremy Price were better finishers and rebounders. Was Bliss the best post player that Felton recruited? The answer is obviously, no.
However, when you look at Dave's production and compare it to the other guys on our team now and around the league this season, it's clear that Dave was a quality big. Especially so when you add in the fact that Dave achieved his production while battling chronic back issues (herniated disc) that limited him to around 20 minutes a night. Throw in the intangibles (co-captain, graduated with honors in three years) and his leadership when UGA was coming off of NCAA sanctions, hitting key buckets to help UGA win the SEC Tournament championship, and you have yourself one heck of a player.