Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Jeremy Jacob to end up at LSU?

It could happen.

Titus Randle is Jeremy Jacob's former AAU coach. Randle is also the coach for Baton Rouge native, Chris Bass, who recently was signed to LSU's 2008 class.

Randle indicated in a recent interview that "home is home" and that Jacob "has always been interested in his home school."

Although LSU did not recruit Jacob out of high school, LSU might be very interested this time around since Jacob did so well at Hargrave. Add to that the fact that LSU's new coach, Trent Johnson, has already reached into the Baton Rouge AAU ranks once this year, and it begins to look like Jacob will end up going back to Baton Rouge for his college playing career.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Anyaorah Analysis

ESPN's scout, Antonio Williams, apparently thinks Anyaorah is pretty good. I was particularly impressed with what Williams had to say about Anyaorah on the defensive end.

After seeing the ESPN analysis, I looked back at the historical stats for Gwinnett County. Turns out that Anyaorah figures pretty prominently there.

I. Gwinnett County All-Time Statistics

Anyaorah's 43-point game last season ranks in the top ten all-time for most points scored in a game.

Anyaorah is in the top 15 for points scored in a career. Anyaorah's total of 1459 points is just shy of Billy Humphrey's career point total.

Anyaorah also shot seven 3-pointers in a game (twice). That puts him in the top 5 all-time for three-pointers in a single game.

II. Gwinnett County 2007/2008 Stats

On a seasonal basis, Anyaorah's scoring average this past year (26 ppg) was second in the county to Howard Thompkins (30.2 ppg). One site indicates that Anyaorah's average ranked in the top ten for the whole state.

III. Anyaorah Compared to Other Scorers

Anyaorah scored more per game than other highly ranked players, such as juniors Terrance Shannon, Mfon Udofia and Noel Johnson. I'd love to see UGA successfully recruit any of those guys, and they Were just juniors this past year, but the fact that we did sign one who scored more per game than they did is still significant to me.

North Gwinnett also played Norcross fairly well. Anyaorah scored 20 points against Norcross and its star-studded line-up-- more that Aminu scored for that particular game.

Maybe Anyaorah will turn out to be a Rennie Curran in sneakers, a freshman who earns playing time during the year and really makes the most of it. UGA needs a scorer and it looks like we might have one in Anyaorah.

Jeremy Jacob leaves

It's a disappointment. No two ways about it. I was excited about Jacob. Although he was a "tweener," someone that doesn't fit the typical 3 or 4 position on the floor (and it therefore would have been difficult to figure out where to play him), it is also true that putting Jacob in the game would have likely created match-up problems for opposing teams. The Bulldog nation never really got to see what he could do.

Upon reflection, I guess it is good for Jacob that Felton gave him the redshirt year last year. At least Jacob has 4 years to play somewhere else.

However, from a purely selfish perspective, maybe it would have been better for Georgia if Felton would have put Jacob back out there. Especially when Chris Barnes went down with an injury. There would have been plenty of minutes, and from all indications, Jacob had recovered from his injury.

Could Jacob have helped Georgia defend some of those Xavier forwards? Could he have hit a clutch 3-pointer? If Jacob had played during Georgia's run to the NCAA Tournament, perhaps he would have so bonded with the team that nothing could have convinced him to leave.

We'll never know. One of my favorite memories from this past season was seeing Jacob jump on Dave Bliss' back after Bliss hit the last second bank-shot to keep Georgia alive in the SEC Tournament.

Oh well. As we do with all players who have suited up in the red and black, you wish them well in their future endeavors.

As much as I dislike the fact that Jacob is leaving, there are at least six reasons why Jacob's leaving could be a positive.

1) Minutes for others. The log jam at forward is eased up a bit. Counting Jacob, Georgia would have had 7 forwards. An injury-free Chris Barnes needs to get minutes. Jeremy Price can play and if he slims down in the off-season, he will be able to play a lot more minutes. Terrance Woodbury, Travis Leslie, Drazen Zlovaric and Howard Thompkins are all forwards. Add Albert Jackson to the mix, and the fact is that we had 8 big guys. Seven is probably a better balance, given the fact that everyone wants playing time.

2) Experience for the freshmen. With Jacob leaving, the freshmen forwards will get to play more. Howard Thompkins will play a bunch. Good for him. Georgia will get a chance to see what Travis Leslie can do. Maybe Drazen Zlovaric will see action.

3) Class Balance. Having the five recruits plus redshirt freshman Jeremy Jacob in the same academic year was going to create an issue. You only have 13 scholarship slots. Having 6 scholarships used by freshmen takes away from the class balance that good programs achieve.

4) Team Balance. With the loss of Billy Humphrey, Georgia really needs another scorer. Notwithstanding the class balance issue mentioned above, Felton could address the loss of Billy Humphrey by signing another guard, either after school starts as part of the 2008 class, or for 2009. That would give Georgia 7 big guys and 6 guards.

5) Competition. If the real reason for Jacob's leaving was that he was concerned about minutes, then that suggests that he was seeing talent on the roster at his position. Is it possible that Leslie, Zlovaric and Thompkins are really good? Are they showing out in the summer pick-up games? Could be.

6) Recruiting. Georgia now has another slot for the 2009 class. Demario Mayfield is committed, which had left Georgia with only one open scholarship. With Jacob leaving, Georgia can now recruit two, rather than one for 2009. Assuming the plan was to hold one slot open for Favors, Georgia has another scholarship available for a position of need. Terrance Shannon? Ari Stewart? Mfon Udofia? Any of those guys would be good to get, and we have room for them now.

Hang in there, Dawg fans. We have had attrition, but we have also had improvement every year. I think the net of Jacob leaving is that UGA's squad will end up better, either this year or next.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Travis Leslie Stats

I recently looked at the stat sheet for Dekalb County's 2007/2008 basketball season.

Dekalb Hoops

Travis Leslie had some absolutely huge games. He shot 60% from the field, averaging 21 points and 9 rebounds per game. He also had 5 assists and 3 blocks per outing. And in a bit of surprise for me, Leslie averaged an impressive 40% on 3-pointers.

He has a lot of ability. If he improves on his free-throw shooting, the sky's the limit.

Leslie Destroys Rome Wolves

I am predicting that Travis Leslie will play a ton of minutes this year.

Starting Five for UGA

One of the ways in which Coach Felton's success can be measured is in determining the makeup of UGA's starting five.

In other words, a good program should have real competition for minutes. Last year's starters should be improving their games and working hard to make sure that the newcomers don't overtake them. Practices are therefore more productive, and the games during the year are more exciting as different players develop and produce results on the floor.

By this metric, it looks like UGA is rounding into shape. As we prepare for the 2008 season, there is actual debate on who starts on at least 3 of the 5 positions.

We now have 12 players on scholarship, plus one battle-tested walk-on. Since when has UGA been even close to numbers like this? Even if Jeremy Jacob leaves, the cupboard is still relatively full, rather than empty. Now, I don't want to jinx us, either. Injuries or suspensions could occur. But it is better to go into the year with a full roster, than to go in already depleted because recruits can't get into school. For now, we're looking pretty good.


Swansey, Butler, Woodbury, Price, and Jackson.

Now, I admit that there are questions for where the points would come from out of this group. But the good thing is that these guys all played major minutes last year. And I admit further that the above statement of starters assumes that Woodbury cannot successfully play the 2-guard. If Woodbury starts at the 3 position, then unless there is a true superstar on the roster, the guys with the most experience begin the year as starters.

Second Five? The weakness that Georgia has had over the last few years is in the second five. We just haven't had much of a bench. That's what makes me excited about this year's team. UGA's second five is poised to push for minutes. They are all very impressive athletes and can put up points, too.

Ware, Anyaorah, Leslie, Thompkins, and Barnes.


Depending on defense and progress in the weight room (and roster developments), the back-ups would be

Brewer, Zlovaric, Jacob, and McPhee.

And the good thing about these 4 guys is that any of them could come in and play. Some could make major contributions. Who knows? If the rumor of his pending transfer is untrue and Jacob ends up staying, he could challenge for starting minutes at the 3 or the 4 position.

I like where we stand. We've got some depth, some guys that can play multiple positions, and some unknowns that could turn into solid contributors.

Derrick Favors still has UGA in the running

That's a good sign.

The more I hear about Favors, the more I like him. Sounds like a very talented kid with a good head on his shoulders.

I know he comes out of a super program at South Atlanta.

Good luck, UGA!