Friday, August 1, 2008

Dismissal and Transfers

No, not Felton. This time it's Jeff Lebo and the Auburn basketball program.

Josh Dollard has been dismissed. A 12-pt and 7 rebound per game power forward in 2006, Dollard sat out last year due to medical reasons, and was dismissed before the 2008/2009 season got under way. In other off-season developments, reserves Boubacar Sylla and Matt Heramb have transferred. That's three big players fewer for an Auburn squad that already was on the smallish side.

Although Auburn has a class of five freshmen coming in, none of the newcomers ranked above 3 stars, according to Rivals. Could be good players, but it's unknown how much help they will be once the SEC portion of the schedule gets going.

There is some good news for Auburn fans, and that is that Korvotney Barber should be back from the broken hand he suffered last year. He averaged 14 pts and 7 rebounds prior to his injury. Further, Auburn would likely have continued to use a guard-heavy line-up, even if Dollard, Sylla and Heramb had stuck around. Assuming the guards get most of the playing time this year, and that Korvotney Barber is healthy, the incoming freshmen big men should have some time to adjust before being called upon to play a lot of minutes.

The problem for Lebo is that he also lost key contributors Frank Tolbert (13 pts and 5 rebounds per game) and Quan Prowell (15 pts and 6 boards per game) due to graduation. Add that natural turnover to the one dismissal and the two transfers, and factor in an SEC that figures to be stronger than last year, and Auburn might not improve much over last year's 4 and 12 SEC record.

Auburn is committing to basketball, nonetheless. I imagine that recruiting will start to pick up the closer they get to the opening of their new basketball arena. Jeff Lebo might have to do his best coaching job to hold it all together until then.

Former Student Manager for BBall Squad

has game plan for getting into the coaching ranks.

Moving from the ROTC to work as a student assistant for the basketball program, Todd Hartley later joined Coach Richt to help out UGA's football squad. Hartley is now working with former UGA line coach, David Johnson, up at West Virginia.

Hartley hopes to be a head coach some day.

I tell you this, he will have a whole lot of experience by the time he gets his shot.

I like to see guys fulfill their dreams, whether in athletics or outside of the world of sports.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

San Francisco Treat-- Not

This guy sounds tough. If any of our players could handle it, financially and socially, it sounds like a 7-week summer with Matrisciano would be of huge benefit.

Can you imagine Jeremy Price, Howard Thompkins, or Chris Barnes after working out with him?

Good nuggets on Georgia Tech at the bottom of the article.

Wonder if UGA can make a run at this guy?

Tamir Jackson recently de-committed from UAB. Who knows why? Who cares?

I guess it does matter, but if he has decided to de-commit so he can be sure he has the right school, then maybe he needs to consider UGA.

Jackson scored almost 30 points against Oak Hill. He can play.

And the description from ESPN sounds almost exactly like Sundiata Gaines.

Felton did wonders with Gaines' game, and Gaines is from the same general area of the country. I bet Felton could make an effective pitch to Jackson.

Since the guy also reportedly has a 3.6 gpa and wants a coach to push him, he'd fit in with Felton's academics-first focus. He's a tough defender and a scorer, which is just what UGA needs. While we are considering big men, we might ought to take Jackson.

It is possible to find a diamond

Hard to say just how so many coaches missed on Stephen Curry.

You would think that with his blood lines, a big-time SEC coach would have found him and offered a scholarship. But look at his list of offers. Not too many suitors.

So, I am posting this information for Ricky McPhee, and Troy Brewer, and Ebuka Anyaorah. You guys will be relied upon, in whole or in part, to handle the shooting guard responsibilities.

Go out there and make a name for yourselves. It can happen.

Pre-Season Outlook


I think they did a pretty good job. No mention at all of Chris Barnes. Since he didn't play as many games as he might have, that's not really a surprise. But for Georgia to move toward the top of the SEC, Barnes will have to perform-- give the team the athleticism and physicality that is a big part of his game. I'll post more on him at another time.

I agree with CollegeSports that the impact of the graduation of Gaines and Bliss will be huge. That's why I wish Georgia had made a push for Mfon Udofia. It's hard to overestimate the value of a tough point guard.

In the absence of last year's seniors, other people will have to step up. All there is to it. We have some pieces. Do we have enough to win big? I'd like to say yes, but I'm not sure it will all come together soon enough. My preseason grade for the Dawgs? B-

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sundiata Gaines to Play in Italian League

Sundiata Gaines has signed to play in Italy.

Gaines played for UGA from 2004 to 2008. During his senior season, he averaged almost 34 minutes per game, recording 15 pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals each contest. He ended his career as Georgia's all-time leader in steals, second in assists, 9th in scoring, and 11th in rebounding. He was named Second-Team All SEC two years in a row.

Gaines was the heart and soul of Georgia's team, playing hard night in and night out, helping to build Georgia's program and propel it toward last year's NCAA berth and SEC Tournament Championship. Recognized for his outstanding play, he was named the SEC Tournament MVP.

Gaines will continue his playing career with Pallacanestro Cantu, a team based in the city of Cantu. Cantu is located in the Province of Como, toward the foot of the Alps in Italy. Cantu is known for furniture-making and great food, and is located not far from beautiful Lake Como, the third largest lake in Italy.

Not to make us all jealous, but here is some information about the Lake Como area.

We are sure that Gaines will do a great job with his new team and continue to represent UGA well.

Congratulations, Sundiata!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tom Crean gets 2-year Extension

Good for him. Is it good for Indiana? His team hasn't played a game yet, the season is still months away, and the school just gave the new head coach a 10-year contract.

The article's author says that the investment in Crean is money well-spent. I would say that the jury is still out. Yet, I applaud Indiana for recognizing the immensity of the job facing their coach. They want him to restore credibility first, and then the tradition of winning games. By locking up their coach now, it shows that Indiana is serious.

IU won't win many games next year. Years two and three might not be much better. Recruiting will be down. Boosters will be unhappy. However, the school president wants Crean to know in advance that he has his support and that he will have time to do the job right.

I have compared previously the state of IU's basketball program in 2008 with the situation Dennis Felton faced in 2003. It all sounds so familiar. I won't rehearse all the similarities here. There is an incredible distinction, though, and that is the long-term approach taken by IU and the length of the contract.

For Felton to accept the challenges and somehow make it to the NCAA's in 5 years-- I think he has done just a fantastic job. The Dawgs are now off of NCAA probation, second in the SEC in the Academic Progress Report, and SEC Tournament champs! Perhaps Crean pointed to Coach Felton's work as "Exhibit A" for how he expected to rebuild IU's program.

Yet, despite Felton's proven success, winning the first SEC Tournament championship that UGA has had in 25 years, his contract is shorter than Crean's.

Indiana has shown us that some big schools are willing to take the long-term approach. I think that that's the right choice for UGA, too.

Where Are They Now? Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas arrived at UGA in 2000 and played until his junior year, 2002-2003. During that season, Thomas averaged 10.2 pts per game and 7.3 rebounds.

Coach Jim Harrick left UGA in 2003, and shortly after the transition to Coach Felton, Thomas was dismissed. Thomas sat out one year and returned to action for the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the 2004-2005 season, where he averaged 10.5 pts and 7.5 rebounds.

Thomas played overseas in Poland, and was named one of the Polish League All-stars. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. After a brief stint with the Atlanta Krunk, Thomas signed in February 2008 with the East Kentucky Miners. Thomas led the CBA in both rebounding (11.5 per game) and field goal percentage (62.5%).

Thomas is now playing overseas in the Philippines for the Air21 Express.

Although the music is bad, I felt some readers who remember Steve might appreciate seeing a youtube video featuring clips of his recent play.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recruiting Update: Derrick Favors

Don't know whether we will be successful in recruiting Derrick Favors, but Dennis Felton is certainly putting forth the effort.

Favors has a ton of talent. UGA is in the mix, and I'm optimistic.

Recruiting Update: Torin Walker

Torin Walker has been in the news of late.

1. Rivals Article

You have to scroll down a bit in the attached article, but Walker did get some good press for his play down in Orlando at the Super Showcase.

2. ESPN Article

Bob Gibbons gives Walker some love at the very bottom of this article.

"Unlimited upside" sounds fantastic. If he can mix it up down low and shoot the ball from up high, he might be a great addition to UGA's class of 2009.

Dawgs Win! Post of the Week

Steve Newman from three to beat Arkansas.

He had to step on the pig's snout (with a hob-nailed sneaker?) to get it done. Ha!