Saturday, November 15, 2008

Georgia over South Carolina Upstate

The Good.

Travis Leslie: Great body control. High-flying dunks. Went 3 of 4 from the free throw line. Led the team in scoring in limited minutes.

Troy Brewer got out on the break and dunked on a guy. Who knew he was that athletic?

Albert Jackson and Terrance Woodbury are apparently over their injuries.

Drazen Zlovaric looked good. So did Zac Swansey and Dustin Ware.

Chris Barnes showed his usual ups on one occasion.

Contributions from up and down the bench.

The Bad.

Georgia was outrebounded. Think the final margin was 41 to 30.

The 3-point shooting was bad. Maybe bad enough to put it in the "ugly" category, but I will attribute Woodbury's 1 for 7 night to the fact that he is coming off an injury.

Albert Jackson fouled out. I think he had 0 points and just a few rebounds. I'll take it for this game, but he will have to stay out of foul trouble over the next couple of games.

If we rebound like we did and shoot like we did, SEC teams will blow us out.

The Ugly.

Gxtra was terrible. I gave them props last week. This week I have to take it back. Horrible buzz on the audio. Awful replays that showed slow-moving ad's before the replay started. No way to keep up with the score. Freeze-frames often.
I appreciate the effort, but the execution was way off.

Georgia's offensive sets. I keep thinking that UGA will get better in this regard. Please, let Pete Herrmann go see Mike Woodson's staff of the Atlanta Hawks and let's learn some new plays.

Jeremy Price's injury. Reports are that he got poked in the eye, twice. I hope he is okay. Howard Thompkins is still hobbled. Albert Jackson is just coming off a rolled ankle. Chris Barnes still has some brace on his wrist. If Price can't go in the NIT, we have 2 players in the post and I don't see how Georgia wins more than one out of the four games.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Georgia Offers Milton Trio

This may be somewhat old news, but while we're talking recruiting nowadays, it should be noted that UGA has made scholarship offers to Julian Royal, Dai-Jon Parker and Shannon Scott.

The AJC reported on the three teammates.

Talented Trio

The good news is that UGA will have open scholarships in 2011. We project to be able to accept all three if we can garner their commitments. A number of the other schools would be over their scholarship allotments.

Demarcus Cousins

Wonder if Felton ever looked at him... Maybe not since he was an early commit to UAB. He certainly can play, and if he's still on the board, it might be worth the effort. Would much rather have Favors,

But my bigger question is

Should Recruits have this much pull?

Howard Thompkins

Won't play tonight, but it looks like he will play soon.


Whenever he does suit up, he'll feel the effects of the injury, and will be hampered by having missed out on a good bit of the strength and conditioning work. However, a rusty and recovering Trey Thompkins is still a pretty good basketball player.

He'll likely get better as the year goes on. Maybe just in time for the SEC portion of the schedule.

Coach Herrmann has compared Thompkins to Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan. That's indeed lofty praise. The surprising one to me was Tracy McGrady. I don't think Thompkins has McGrady's speed and athleticism, but I'm willing to be convinced.

Get better, Thompkins. The Pre-Season NIT is around the corner, and we'll need you.

My Take on Recruiting: Ten Words

1) Results. Georgia won an SEC Tournament Championship with Felton, staff and team. The championship was an achievement made only once before by a Georgia team, some 25 years ago. In all the years of Georgia basketball, we had never beaten Kentucky in the Tournament.

The goal of recruiting is to win championships, and the run to the 2008 SEC Tournament Championship will go down as one of the greatest achievements in UGA sports history. Who knew the 3-stars we had could out-duel UK's 5-stars? We're not where we want to be on results, but the Championship showed us all that recruiting was going on better than we thought.

2) Integrity. I despise the underside of recruiting. I'd rather have us field an intramural squad than cheat our way to the top.

3) Admissions. A few years back, I was all excited about Alexander Johnson, and Larry Turner, and Julius Lamptey. Unfortunately, they did not have the credentials to become admitted. Two 3-stars that get in will always be better than four 5-stars who never make it to campus.

4) Improvement. Georgia was just bad at recruiting before. This had gone on for years under different coaches. Compared to where we were, we're doing great now.

5) Perspective. Recruiting is a cumulative process.

Jeremy Price, Chris Barnes, Zac Swansey, Troy Brewer. Solid class of recruits, currently sophomores.

Trey Thompkins, Drazen Zlovaric, Dustin Ware, Travis Leslie. Solid class and might be fantastic.

Next year's freshman class will be redshirt freshman Ebuka Anyaorah, and true freshmen Daniel Miller and Demario Mayfield.

When seen together, Georgia's classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 show that recruiting is looking pretty darn good.

6) Roster. Looks like next year we will be 2-deep at point guard (Swansey and Ware), 3-deep at shooting guard (Brewer, Anyaorah and Mayfield), 2-deep at small forward (Zlovaric and Leslie), 3-deep at power forward (Price, Barnes and Thompkins), and 2-deep at center (Jackson and Miller). Talented, balanced, and deep roster.

7) Evaluation. Felton and staff have a pretty good eye for talent. Not 100% in every regard, but they brought in Bliss and Gaines and Woodbury, who next to nobody thought could get it done. Maybe, just maybe, Miller and Mayfield are the next Dave Bliss and Sundiata Gaines.

8) Character. Georgia is bringing in some guys who will make us proud.

9) Academics. Closely related to character. Can we have basketball success and guys who will get it done in the classroom? I think so. Miller and Mayfield are high achievers.

10) Future. Georgia could get Derrick Favors. Maybe a long shot, but it could happen. 2010 could bring us Trae Golden, Jason Morris, Patric Young, or another talented player.

As we open up the 2008/2009 basketball season, the recent past of Georgia recruiting will be on display and the future of recruiting will be at hand. I think there are no fewer than 10 reasons to be optimistic, even excited about where we are and where we are going. Let's reel in Derrick Favors and get really fired up, and win some more championships along the way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rashaad Singleton starts off the Year

Playing at a new school, Singleton is performing well.

Singleton decided to transfer last year after he was removed from Georgia's starting line-up. He found a home at Division II school, Florida Southern.

So far, Florida Southern has played in the Division II Tip-Off Classic, and has won its first two games. Singleton almost achieved a triple double in Florida Southern's last game, notching 8 points, 8 rebounds and 8 blocked shots.

Prior to the Division II season beginning, Florida Southern played Purdue and Illinois in exhibition games. Although Florida Southern lost both of the games by large margins, Singleton was said to have dominated the center for Illinois, before leaving the game due to foul trouble.

Sporting News on the Dawgs

Good article from the Sporting News. Chronicles Georgia's run from last year and the team's prospects for this season.

Sporting News

Felton mentions how he loves his current team. I think that not having any academic or off-court issues during this school year has been a huge relief to Felton. He has instilled his emphasis on getting to class and study hall, and now he can focus on the purely basketball side of coaching the players.

Felton suggests that the team may have bitten off a little too much on the schedule. We will soon see. I imagine guys who clamored for tougher games will be the same ones who say "Georgia isn't any good" when the harder schedule leads to a less impressive overall record. I suppose that if Felton had known that he would lose Billy Humphrey for the season and other guys would have serious injuries, he might have scheduled differently. Well, players will have to step up.

I am looking forward to the start of the season tomorrow night.

Sundiata Gaines Leads Cantu to Victory

Sundiata Gaines has continued to perform well for his team, Pallacanestro Cantu, in the Italian League.

In a recent game, "MVP Sundiata Gaines," according to the Italian press, took over in the final 4 minutes of the fourth quarter and scored 12 of his 15 points, including the decisive basket. Georgia native, B.J. Elder, a teammate of Gaines, scored 18 points in the win.

Cantu won the game over Bancatercas Teramo by a final score of 92 to 89.

Inexact Science

You don't often hear "experts" criticize the value of their own opinions, but that's pretty much the case in the attached article.

Far from Perfect

Fans put so much emphasis on the big-name recruits. Who are the 5-stars, and where are they going? And why didn't Georgia get more of them?

But when you look back three seasons to 2005 and see who were the recruits who were getting all the buzz, and you examine whether they are seniors in 2008 who are contributing to the colleges that signed them, you start to re-assess things.

A full third of the marquee recruits from 2005 transferred from their original schools. Other guys stayed with their schools, but they just didn't pan out. Some recruits, to be sure, would have been excellent college players, but were selected to the NBA draft.

Best bet for the wise college coach? Be sure to check out the late bloomers, so says one expert. Maybe guys like Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss and Terrance Woodbury.

Miller and Mayfield Sign

UGA's two basketball commits signed official letters of intent this week.

Daniel Miller, a 6' 11" post player from Loganville Christian, signed with the Dawgs. He is still growing into his body some, but he has a pretty good skill set for a guy his size. He will need to fill out and get used to the physical play of SEC basketball.

Demario Mayfield is a prospect that UGA was on very early. Solid guard. Looks to have somewhat of a set-shot from the perimeter, but he can play.

Here are the links to the official release from Georgia and an article from the Athens Banner Herald.

M & M


As always, click on their names below for previous posts/further background information on Miller and Mayfield.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Looks Like Jeremy Jacob to Arkansas

I expect that Jeremy Jacob will commit to Arkansas this week.

Jacob, who had been recruited by LSU, UAB, Auburn, UK and others, had a final two of Arkansas and Oregon. Jacob has stated that he "loves the SEC," so it looks like UGA basketball with have to play against Jeremy Jacob, rather than with him.

First Unit vs. Second Unit Poll

As I have mentioned before, one of the best signs of Felton's recruiting progress is the strength of the second unit. I am excited about that group, and I look forward to guys coming off the bench and adding a lot to Georgia's success.

So in the spirit of fun, I wanted to post the poll, with the following assumptions:

Everyone is healthy.

First unit is made up of Swansey, Butler, Woodbury, Price and Jackson.

Second unit is Ware, Brewer, Leslie, Thompkins and Barnes. Second unit can sub in Zlovaric.

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

Basketball Overview: 20 Questions

Somewhat dated, but I thought it was a good piece.

Here is Rivals' article on the just-started basketball season. Rivals asks and answers questions on the new three-point line, returning coaches, Final Four appearances, one-and-done athletes, and more.


Chris Barnes Q & A

The Red and Black interviewed Chris Barnes in a question and answer format.

Barnes talks about his right wrist injury, and the fact that he has really practiced going to his left and using his left hand.


I'm looking forward to seeing what Barnes can do offensively. Last year was such an abbreviated season for him. But when he did play early in the year, Barnes showed good hands and great athleticism.

Barnes also has pretty good range. I'd like to see him be more decisive with the ball, move quickly when he faces the rack. When he is on the low block, he can use the drop step or back his man down and score.

With the injury to Albert Jackson, I think Barnes will be in the starting line-up on Friday against South Carolina Upstate.

Dawg fans are looking forward to the game, Chris! Run the floor, block shots, get rebounds and score the basketball.

Interview with Georgia Associate Coach, Pete Herrmann

Thanks to David Hale for posting this interview on his blog.

Athens Sports Radio, "960, The Ref," did a good job in discussing several topics with Coach Herrmann. Herrmann talks about the injury situation with Albert Jackson and Trey Thompkins, the upcoming game with South Carolina Upstate, and other basketball-related topics.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Patric Young is in Demand

Patric Young is being courted by a number of high majors. After playing well on the AAU circuit this past summer, Young quickly went from being virtually unknown on a national level to being a highly sought after recruit.

Georgia was on Young relatively early, and rightfully so. The guy is a player.

Events of recent days, particularly the injuries to Anyaorah, Thompkins and Jackson, underscore the fact that there is strength in numbers. You absolutely have to find a way to get balance between upper and underclassmen, between big men and back court players. At the same time, it has to be the right person-- a guy who projects to have the talent and work ethic to succeed at Georgia, both on the court and off.

Well, it looks like Patric Young fits the bill for UGA. As the video below shows, he is a powerful high-riser who really enjoys the game of basketball.

Young Video

Steve Thomas in Korea

Steve Thomas has moved around a bit since he left Georgia.

After the transition from Harrick to Felton, Thomas transferred to Middle Tennessee State and finished his college career. Since then, Thomas has had stints in the CBA and playing internationally (click on Steve's name to see earlier article for details).

Thomas just recently left the Phillipines and the AirExpress squad and is now playing in Korea.


My Korean is a little bit rusty (ha), but I can tell you that his number is 55 and his nickname is "Pooh."

Thomas' team, the MagicWings, are 0 and 5 this season. Steve should be able to help them out with his physical play around the basket.

I'll continue to follow Thomas as he plays in the Korean League, but this will take some work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ezra Williams to play for Toros

Former UGA standout, Ezra Williams, was selected last week in the NBA D-League draft.

Williams went to the Austin Toros, of Austin, Texas. Williams previously played with the Toros in 2005/2006, a season in which he averaged 12.5 points per game.

The Toros also selected Mohamed Abukar. Dawg fans may remember that Abukar originally signed with Jim Harrick's UGA squad, but was given a release after Harrick resigned. Abukar then went to the University of Florida, and ultimately transferred again to San Diego State.

The Toros are affiliated with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs team. Austin's games will be broadcast by the local ESPN station.

Perhaps Williams will be picked up by San Antonio, or another team that needs a three-point specialist. I could see him playing well for Phoenix, since teams will likely need to double-team Shaquille O'Neal or Amare Stoudemire, which would leave things open on the perimeter for a reliable shooter.

Congratulations, Ezra!

R&B on Jackson's Injuries

Okay. Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, be very careful getting onto and off of the campus buses.


We need Albert Jackson. We need him now.

But when a sprain is bad, and it certainly looked that way when it happened, it just takes time. Most guys who have played a few years of basketball, whether rec league, high school, or college, remember the drill.

The first night is really tough. You have to keep your foot up, and it just pounds away, throbbing with pain. Later, you manage to get around pretty well, get treatment, but the ankle is weaker than you think. It's sometimes weeks before you feel back to normal.

The problem for UGA is that it's time to get started on a really difficult schedule. Front court had been a strength for Georgia, but with injuries to Thompkins and Jackson, Georgia suddenly looks very thin in the post. Tony Parker, of the San Antonio Spurs, recently had an ankle sprain. He will be out for four weeks, so I expect roughly the same period of recovery for Jackson.

So, to Albert Jackson: Get well, big guy, and come back as soon as you can.

In the meantime, let's hire some bodyguards for Price and Barnes.

Core Strengths

The AJC went at the season prediction articles from a different angle. Maybe they do this every year and I have just missed it.

Anyway, they recently gave an overview of how Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State might do this year. It's in somewhat of a Q&A format.

Three Teams

Gani Lawal scored 30 the other night. Over-matched opponent, but if he plays to his capability this year, he could post some big games for Tech. Some people don't like Lance Storrs, but I do. He is a big guard with great shooting range. Smart player who came out of the same high school system as Jeremy Price and Travis Leslie.

Tech will have to play with a short bench, and the ACC is always tough. Their core is pretty solid, though. And they will have a lot of help coming next year.

Georgia State will be getting better and better. James Fields came in and saved them the other night. If Rashanti Harris gets in school, State might start building something.

Another SEC Preview,

another prediction with Georgia finishing last.

Okay, so these guys are biased. It's still a good read for those who are hungry for basketball information.

They have Kentucky finishing first over UT. Now, Kentucky may challenge UT this year, and I have written about it, but things have to break just right. If Meeks gets hurt again, or if Patterson gets in foul trouble, UK will have some problems.


UT is deep and talented. Losing Cameron Tatum to injury was a big deal. Not sure when he will be back. But with a healthy Scotty Hopson and Emanuel Negedu, UT has definitely reloaded. A team with a really good point guard and a big scoring center could give them problems, but UT will knock out most opponents with the press.

Florida could surprise. They had a really good year last year when most thought they would be rebuilding. Donovan can coach. If Vargas and their other freshman big man, Kadji, play well, UF could be competing for the top. Losing Lucas will hurt their depth in the back court, but not that much.

Vanderbilt lost Foster. He could score from anywhere on the floor. But as usual, Vandy will benefit by playing games on their strange court, so expect a good home record for them. Besides that, Vanderbilt has real talent in the front court. Their freshmen will be better than most expect. Not sure where they will end up if teams play zone against them.

South Carolina. No new recruits. A new coach. Downey can play and Mike Holmes will be much better. Zam Frederick and a couple of the others will score from the wing. They don't seem to be big enough in the post.

Georgia. No one knows what we have. More and more injuries have hit. Anyaorah out for the year. Thompkins with various knee and ankle issues. Jackson suffering a sprained ankle at the end of the first exhibition game. Add that to the personnel losses (Gaines, Bliss, Humphrey and Jacob), and a schedule with a series of tough games, and Georgia could start off slowly.

Feel free to leave a comment with your predictions for how the SEC East will turn out.