Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perhaps I was a little bit hasty.

I sang the praises of Kentucky's new roster a few days ago. Well, they played a Division II team last night and UK went into the half up by six points, or something like that.

In the meantime, UT was just destroying its opponent. They had a 40 to 2 lead somewhere in the game.

UK will get better during the year, but UT is for real right now.


Pleased with GXtra

Giving credit where credit is due, the GXtra broadcast was great. I don't think the exhibition game was broadcast over any other medium, so it was fantastic to have the capability to see and hear the contest over the Web.

GXtra is much improved. I don't know whether this year was a first that the broadcast came through so clearly, but I remember one year being totally frustrated and just turning it off.

There were a few things that I would do differently if I were in charge of broadcasting the game, but it's so much better than before, I wanted to note it here, and thank the team for putting it on.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Take on the Exhibition Game: Three Surprises

I missed the entire first half and haven't seen a box score yet. Still, the essence of a blog is to post information and opinion, so I will carry on. Just know that my comments below are more of the latter and less of the former.

Three Surprises:

Dustin Ware: Didn't have a good game from what I saw. Pushed the ball too much into traffic. However, Ware did show that he can go full speed with either hand and keep his head up. Critical for a point guard.

Wish he had more speed, though. Perhaps the small guards at Albany State were able to match him, and it won't be so easy for the bigger guards in the SEC to keep up with him. One can hope.

He looked like a serviceable back-up point guard. He will have better games, so I'd like to see him play again before making too many predictions.

Drazen Zlovaric: The guy has incredible court sense. Great fundamentals. He knows what to do with the basketball. Not a project. Will play a lot this year.

Troy Brewer: Heard he was very assertive in the first half. He had a nice up and under move in the second half. Maybe he will be Georgia's high scoring two guard.

Georgia did not look like an elite team. But we didn't look bad either, and that's saying something since Terrance Woodbury and Howard Thompkins were out for the game, and Ebuka Anyaorah is out for the year.

We have some pieces. Maybe the Dawgs will end up like the Hawks and give their fans some very positive surprises this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Albany State will bring Experienced Players,

and a busload of fans to Athens.

Albany State's basketball squad has not done well on the road. As the attached article details, the team has played fairly well at home. However, its road woes suggest that Georgia will have the upper hand in tomorrow night's exhibition game.

To offset UGA's home court advantage, the Rams will bring a bus from the southwest corner of the state. Their fans will be supporting a team that should improve during the year, due to having a more experienced set of players.

Albany State

Hopefully, UGA's fan base will be energized and ready to support the Dawgs.

Basketball is here.

Auburn Plainsman

makes it plain regarding their opinion of Jeff Lebo.

I'm not expecting much from Auburn this year. Granted, they could overachieve. Backs against the wall, they might find a way to fight and scratch their way out of the cellar in the SEC West. But the roster does not seem to be there for Lebo.

Korvotney Barber is a hustle guy, someone who plays bigger than his size. He's healthy this year and he will definitely help Auburn's performance. But is he the kind of player that will out-talent other SEC big men? I don't think so.

Will Auburn's freshmen and Juco newcomers provide them with enough depth to move toward the top of the SEC West? The jury is still out. Lebo will have to do his best coaching job ever to make it happen.

Folks seem to like Lebo. The construction of the new arena, however, has ratcheted up the expectations.


Unfinished Business, Indeed

There are so many comparisons between UGA and Baylor basketball.

Baylor's situation was much worse, of course. Happened a few years ago, but the facts as I recall them: One player killed another and hid his body. The ensuing investigation revealed a pattern of of improper payments by the coach. Instead of allowing law enforcement to take its course, the coach tried to cover it all up, and was caught on tape lying about it all.

A truly terrible situation, which might be the all-time low for college athletics.

As bad as Georgia's alleged improper payments and sham courses were, things never spiraled as horribly out of control as they did at Baylor.

I won't repeat all of the details of each program's transgressions. There is plenty of information out on the Web about each situation. Besides, that's not the point of this post. It's not the details, but rather, the broad similarities that strike me.

Both programs recently went through the sudden dismissal of a coach, bad publicity, and the need to build the program back up, pretty much from scratch.

Baylor and UGA each had their own "Dave Bliss." In Baylor's case, their Coach Dave Bliss was a major part of the problem. With Georgia, our player, Dave Bliss, was a key cog in the solution.

Baylor and Georgia hired energetic coaches who began right away to turn things around. Scott Drew at Baylor, and Dennis Felton at Georgia, were initially challenged with finding enough players to suit up, and then they had to somehow overcome the negative recruiting tactics of other schools to build their rosters.

Somehow they made it. The timeline was not the same, but Baylor and UGA are firmly on the upswing. Each school made it to the NCAA Tournament last year.

Both Baylor and Georgia also lost in the first round. So the programs begin the season with a sense of "unfinished business." They have tasted a degree of success, and they are hungry for more.

Can it happen? Can Baylor and Georgia build on last season? Hopefully so. You have to root for them as the programs have moved from crawling, to walking, and perhaps in 2008/2009-- to running.

Crawl, Walk, Run

Jeremy Jacob Performs at Chipola

Jeremy Jacob was on the JUCO equivalent of the big stage.

His team, Chipola, ranked #2 nationally for JUCO teams, was facing Indian Hills, the #1-ranked squad. Jacob had the ball at the free throw line. Chipola was up 1 point, and Jacob had been fouled. He was shooting the 1 and 1, and had a chance to ice the game.

Jacob missed the front end, and Indian Hills ran with the ball to the other end. Fortunately for Jacob and Chipola, Indian Hills missed a late 3-pointer, and the ensuing put-back was called off.

Big Stage

Jacob ended the game with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Robert Dozier

Well, Robert Dozier is a senior this year. John Calipari, the head coach at Memphis, says that Dozier is one of the 10 best players in America.

Note: You'll have to scroll down some in the article below to see the quote.

ESPN's Memphis Preview

Glad that things worked out for Dozier. He committed to Memphis before his senior year, but later decided he might want to stay closer to home. Felton successfully recruited him to UGA, but, if memory serves me, either the University of Georgia or the NCAA Clearinghouse questioned his SAT score.

At any rate, instead of enrolling at Georgia, Dozier went to prep school. And after a year at prep school, for one reason or another, he headed to Memphis for his playing career. Perhps the door was closed at UGA. Perhaps not. From all I understand, he has done well at Memphis.

Who knows what would have happened if Dozier had ended up as part of the class with Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss...

Catfish and Cornbread

Bop and the other writers at Catfish and Cornbread offered quite the compliment recently.


They have a fantastic site, so to be recognized by their team was an honor.

Thanks, guys.

I watched the Kentucky Exhibition Game

the other night, and I will say this:

If an SEC team did not beat Kentucky last year, they may have missed their best opportunity.

Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson are healthy again, and they looked great on the floor. Meeks hit seven 3-pointers, and finished with 27 points. Patterson scored 24.

I was very impressed with the other players that Gillespie has brought in. Josh Harrelson went 9 for 14, and ended the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The new guards look very capable.

UK game

Tennessee is the class of the SEC. They are better and deeper than anyone else-- as it stands now.

However, Kentucky might give UT all they can handle by the time the new year rolls around and the SEC conference schedule begins.

For that matter, Florida and Vanderbilt will be much more athletic. Yes, and even Georgia is building its roster. Should be a fantastic year for the SEC East. Not sure about the West, but the East will offer great basketball watching this year.

Congratulations to all of the newly elected.

It is a very heavy responsibility.

I urge everyone to pray for our country.

By the way, if your preferred candidate in one of the elections did not win, don't jump out of the window. Wins and losses are part of sports and it is part of life--it's the way that democracy works. Stay involved in the process. Keep voting. America is worth it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dawgs Open Practice

to the public.

Sure was great to read the accounts by those that attended. There is a good discussion going on at the message board.

Most of the buzz centers on Travis Leslie. One of my favorite posters cautioned that we should temper our expectations of Leslie.

Well, I won't do it. The cat can play. I'm bullish on him, and I'll take it a step farther: If Leslie stays healthy, he will have a strong shot at freshman of the year for the SEC. He will have plenty of competition. But he will have plenty of opportunity, too.

The Red and Black writer was impressed, too.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Clemson-Georgia Scrimmage: If we held

our own against Clemson, we're probably a bit farther along than I thought.

Clemson has a talented squad. Here's an overview, not from our scrimmage against them, but from their scrimmage against themselves (intra-squad).

Clemson Intra-squad

Clemson's players shot over 40% from behind the arc, and their big guys scored the ball very well.

In addition to Booker, their powerful post player, they also have Rivers, a skilled shooter, and a couple of other wing players, not to mention the newbies-- Tanner Smith, Andre Young and the 7-foot Euro.

Albany State Rams

Georgia kicks off the basketball season in earnest this week.

UGA has an open team practice today, Monday, November 3. Then, on Friday night, Georgia will play an exhibition game against the Albany State Rams. Next week will be the first official game, November 14, against South Carolina Upstate.

In the meantime, let's look at the Albany State roster.

Rams Roster

Just judging from the information available via the above link, Georgia should have an advantage in the post. Albany State's tallest player is 6'8". If Georgia can feed the ball inside, UGA should do well against the Rams.

Albany State will likely want to speed the game up and try to exploit UGA's relative weakness on the perimeter. Scheraun King, a 6' 4" guard for the Rams, was named to the pre-season SIAC all-conference team.

It's time to play some basketball, folks.

Re-Post of Travis Leslie Video

In checking my prior posts on Travis Leslie, I noted that one of my links, about Leslie's play against Tony Woods and the Rome Eagles, no longer worked.

I think this is the video, a post-game interview with Rome coach, Keeth Jones.

Leslie Sacks Rome

Leslie played on a bad ankle, and did not have his normal hops. Even still, he had 30 points. Note Leslie's body control and a few of the assists he makes.

Here is an article in print, which hopefully will still be around in case the video is removed.


Word is that Leslie was the Leading Scorer

in the scrimmage against Clemson. Some guys are surprised and even disappointed.

I'm not.

As you will note from my previous posts (feel free to go to these posts by clicking on Leslie's name, below), I am bullish on Leslie.

Besides, there are many other objective reasons to not to be all out of sorts about Leslie's scoring.

1. At this point, we're not sure what "leading scorer" means.

There is no box score available. He may have had 15 and Terrance or Jeremy could have had 14.

2. Leslie is a deceptive scorer.

You look at the results after a Leslie game, and you might remember the dunks, but have overlooked the stick-backs, free throws and a jumper here and there. In the meantime, Leslie might have quietly racked up 20 points.

3. Leslie might be better than some realize.

If memory serves me, one message board had a thread a few weeks back about the "Leslie Kool-Aid", and several individuals posted about how they "are not drinking it."

I didn't respond on that board, but the truth is that Leslie might be the x-factor all year for the team.

Leslie was AAAA player of the year for the state of Georgia and he had some big scoring games. When I checked his shooting percentages from the floor and the three-point line (60 percent and 40 percent, respectively), it showed me that he has big-time scoring potential. If he works on some of the basics during his career (free-throw shooting, smoother release on his shot), he could give us Chris Daniels-type numbers.

To save readers some time, and to preserve the record, just in case they remove the link from my earlier post, I wanted to summarize some of the facts from the Dekalb County high school basketball stats page.

Dekalb County has some pretty good basketball players. Well, Leslie was right up there at the top in just about every category that Dekalb County measures. Leslie was #4 in scoring, #12 in rebounding, #9 in field goal percentage, #4 in blocked shots and #8 in assists.

(As an exercise, compare Travis Leslie's stats to #12-ranked nationally, Chris Singleton of the class of 2008, and to #36-ranked Mfon Udofia and #61-ranked Kenny Hall of the 2009 class)

4. Against some teams, Leslie will be a match-up problem. He's stronger than he looks, and he can jump over some opposing defenders. He runs the floor well, and if we have fast breaks, he can finish and get fouled.

5. Howard Thompkins is an elite scorer, but he's injured. The scoring load will shake out during the year.

In sum, Leslie might be the man this year. I am excited about him and have high expectations for his contributions this year and throughout his career.

Go Dawgs!