Friday, October 17, 2008

LSU Breaks Ground on New Practice Facility

Georgia was able to show off its practice facility and it has been pretty neat to have the newest, brightest, fanciest facility around. Now, more programs are getting into the act.

LSU's facility should be nice.


Lessons from Vandy

Vanderbilt is coming to town tomorrow to play UGA in football.

Somehow, Vanderbilt has managed to reach this point in the season and they are #1 in the SEC East. They have a 5 and 1 record, and are one game away from being bowl eligible. Vanderbilt is ranked in the top 25 nationally.

How did they do it? Is there something in Vandy's experience that UGA can learn for its basketball team?

1) Stability in Coaching

Vanderbilt was 2 and 10 during Coach Johnson's first two seasons. Vanderbilt reacted by giving their coach a ten-year extension. Ten years!

2) Emphasize Team Over Talent

Jay Cutler is a pretty good football player. He is playing in the NFL now, and he was Vandy's signature player during his college career in Nashville. As good as Cutler was, he never led his team to a 5 and 1 start.

So why is Vandy having so much more success this year? The SEC could be down this year. Vandy may have gotten a favorable schedule. I don't know. But I do know that Johnson, without a marquee player, has built his program into a real competitor, beating Georgia two years ago and almost beating them last year. And he has done it by getting his guys to pull together as a team, stay focused at the end of games and find ways to win.

3) Do the Little Things Better

Vandy is not blowing teams away. They have had to catch up from behind to win a number of their games. They are winning the close ones because they are doing the little things better, like doing really well in the kicking game.

If Georgia can do the little things, the non-glamorous things, they may stay in enough games to win down the stretch. Box out. Hit free throws. Protect the ball.

4. Coach up the Talent You Have

Somehow, Vandy has gotten a number of players who were unranked or not highly recruited, and by the time these guys are seniors, they are ready to play at high levels.

Sounds like Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss.

Okay. Tech got the more heralded recruits for 2009. Coach Hewitt over at Tech has always seemed to be a pretty good recruiter. Hopefully, UGA will get Favors. But if we don't, stay focused, Coach Felton, and coach up the talent you have. And beat the more heralded team by getting your guys to play tough, smart basketball.

Patric Young is Impressive

Patric Young is scheduled to visit Georgia. Young is a 6'8" power forward from down in Jacksonville, Florida. He attends the Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

One sports site indicated that Young has been working extremely hard. His weight is up to 220, having added 8 to 10 pounds of muscle. Young's vertical jump has increased, too. He says that while his vertical is now in the mid-30's, he wants to boost it up to around 40-45 inches.

The numbers of scholarships open for college basketball teams always seem to change during the year, so I hesitate to mention it here. Anyway, if Favors joins Georgia's class of 2009, then UGA would project to have only one spot in 2010. But if Favors goes elsewhere, or plays one year and turns pro, then Georgia would have two spots.

I could see Georgia bringing in a shooter, like Jason Morris, or a combo guard, like Trae Golden, for one of the spots. And then for the other slot, I think Felton would like to add a versatile big man. And Patric Young sounds like the perfect fit here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Levi Stukes scores 27

His team, Trouville, beats Defensor Sporting, 99 to 87, on Tuesday night.

Stukes has continued his hot hand. As reported earlier, his scoring average has stayed around 30 points per game.

News from Felton's Press Conference

Lots to like about Coach Felton's recent press conference. A lot of the good news had to do with players recovering from injury.

Jeremy Price. I had heard previously that he has lost a good bit of weight. That's great. He was too heavy last year. It wasn't just the matter of the total weight, but where it was located. He needed, in my opinion, to build up his upper body, while trimming down his trunk.

Price will never be skinny. In that sense, he is almost an ideal player for power forward in the SEC. You need enough beef to wrestle down in the post. But you still need to be athletic.

So, as welcomed as the news was that he has improved his conditioning, I appreciated even more the chance to learn from the press conference that Price played last year with a good bit of ankle pain or weakness, stemming from injuries suffered in high school. Basketball lends itself to a lot of ankle punishment. Coming down on someone else's foot is the usual cause. No surprise there. But the fact that Price's injuries were significant enough to require surgery, sheds some light on why Price did not move as well last year as he could have.

It is the combination, then, of Price's weight loss and the off-season surgery that increases my hopes that he will be more explosive this year. He already dunks with authority. Has good hands. He could do so much more, though, if he could run a little faster, elevate a few inches higher.

Chris Barnes. The good news on Barnes is that Coach Felton said that he might be the most improved player on the team. Barnes has big-time athleticism. I more than once have mentioned that Barnes could give Georgia contributions like Trevor Booker does at Clemson. Unfortunately, injuries never allowed Barnes to play much last year.

Well, Barnes' knee is now healed. And other problems with his wrist were cleared up by surgery. Felton added that the surgery caused Barnes to have to use his left hand exclusively during individual work-outs.

Being forced to use the left hand, and growing in skill because of it, reminded me of Greg Oden's situation. Oden got much better at his off-hand while injured. Ohio State never got the full benefit of Oden's improved talent, since he opted for the pro's. I look forward to Barnes going around and over guys with either hand this year, and two more years after that.

Albert Jackson. Felton sounded really pleased with the development of Albert Jackson. I did not know that Jackson had dislocated his shoulder three times. Multiple injuries can definitely slow a player's progression.

Jackson will have to be the man in the middle this year. He will not be stuck behind Dave Bliss or Rashaad Singleton. There are no other upper classman big men. As the junior, he has to lead. There is plenty of playing time. Jackson, show us your improvement.

There wasn't much in the press conference on Travis Leslie or Drazen Zlovaric. I wish that there had been more questions. I wanted much more information on the team. Judging from what Albert Jackson and Corey Butler said during the player interviews, Dustin Ware seems to be a really good athlete. I am a lot more optimistic on Travis Leslie than others who have posted on UGA-related message boards. I think he will be a huge addition to the team.

Basketball season is upon us and I am psyched.

Okay, I'm Convinced

Marlon Brown looks like UGA's starting 2-guard of the future.

Marlon Brown is a 6' 5" guard out of Harding Prep in Memphis. He has a 3.2 gpa and a 21 ACT score. He has visited UGA for football, and wants to return to take in a basketball game. He wants to play both sports at UGA.

I say, fine. Let him. He is the #2-ranked wide receiver in the country. Mark Richt wants to sign two wide receivers next year. I understand that Brown visited UGA for the Alabama football game and met with the basketball coaches at that time. Great. Felton and Richt are working together, apparently.

It works out great for basketball, too, since Brown's scholarship, should he come to Georgia and opt to play both sports, would not count against basketball's 13 scholarship limit.

And the dude can play. State Basketball Tournament MVP. A finalist for Mr. Tennessee Basketball. He averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds per game. But the sky is the limit for this guy. Watch the fundamentals in the clip.

Marlon Brown

I thought the guy was left-handed at first. He has the spin moves, the leaping ability, the size, blocks shots with his off-hand. Sets up well for his shot. Nice rotation. Has the athleticism to finish above the rim. Would almost certainly increase his vertical big-time with a year of college strength training.

Let's sign this guy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

AJC Article Reports on Injuries to the Dawgs

The UGA basketball team has been hit hard by injury. It seems as if the bad luck the football team has been experiencing is leaking over to hit the basketball squad.

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution has reported the following:

Ebuka Anyaorah is out for the year after having recent surgery for a stress fracture. Anyaorah had been counted on to replace some of Billy Humphrey's scoring. Now it looks like he will be red-shirted.

Howard Thompkins has a sprained knee. He had suffered a stress fracture in his foot earlier in the year. His injury will keep him out at least another week.

Jeremy Price had off-season surgery on his ankle. Chris Barnes had off-season surgery on his wrist. Both forwards are expected to practice with the team.

Georgia will hold its first official practice on Friday.

Former UGA Assistant Coach, Tevester Anderson,

has announced that Jackson State University will be hosting a "midnight madness" game this Friday.


Some coaches really believe in the concept of kicking off the official start of basketball practice by having a midnight scrimmage, open to the public, complete with slam dunk competitions and the like. At Kentucky, the game is an institution.

Other coaches don't like the idea, since players can get injured in their attempts to show off for the fans.

I'm not sure why the idea has never caught on at Georgia. The team has had and is getting the types of athletes that would make the event fun for the fans. Although I wouldn't be able to attend, it would be a fun events for the students. And if it were broadcast later on television, as UK's scrimmage was, you bet I would watch it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Playing Kentucky just got harder

Daniel Orton, the #3 center in the country, per Rivals, has committed to Kentucky for the class of 2009.

Line him up with Patrick Patterson at the 4-spot and UK could be back to winning championships sooner rather than later.


Good thing that Georgia has some big guys in the post. We'll need them.

Derrick Favors to visit North Carolina State

Interesting article.

Indicates that Favors will be cutting his list down very soon.

He has no official visits set. So Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State have to be considered his front-runners.