Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cleveland Jackson Rejoins Coaching Ranks

Cleveland Jackson, formerly with the Dawgs' 1993 and 1994 hoops teams, was recently named assistant men's basketball coach at Belmont Abbey College.

Jackson came to UGA from Butler Community College in Kansas, where he averaged 26 points and 9 rebounds per game and was named Junior College Player of the Year. He was recruited to Georgia by head coach Hugh Durham and assistant coach Mark Slonaker, joining a star-studded signing class that included Carlos Strong, Pertha Robinson, Terrell Bell and Shandon Anderson. Cleveland averaged 9 points and 3 rebounds per game during his UGA playing career and was the leading scorer for Coach Durham's 500th win.

After graduating in 1994, followed by a brief stint playing overseas and a period of time coaching at the high school level, Jackson was again called by Mark Slonaker, who had become the head coach at Mercer University. This time, Slonaker asked Jackson to join his staff as an assistant coach. Jackson accepted and thereafter coached at Mercer for seven years.

I believe that Jackson is taking the assistant coaching position recently vacated by Jonas Hayes, when Hayes left to join the UGA staff.

Cleveland is a sharp guy and I couldn't be happier for him and his family.

Congratulations, Coach Jackson!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vanderbilt Football Video

I don't always post videos from football, and certainly not from other teams, but when I do, I prefer videos related to Life. Stay inspired, my friend.

So far the scene of Vanderbilt walk-on Marc Panu being awarded a scholarship has gotten over 210,000 hits.

Congratulations, to a young man who obviously deserves it.

Marc Panu

UGA Hoops Prediction: The Sports Bank

Well, The Sports Bank doesn't expect much from the Dawgs this season.

They are predicting that we will finish 10th in the SEC, which admittedly counts as "improvement" given the fact that the SEC has expanded from 12 to 14 teams. However, Georgia finished 11th last year (in a tie for 10th, but Auburn held the tie-breaker), so a move to 10th in 2012/2013 is like running in mud-- lots of effort, but no real progress and no one wants to watch.

Sports Bank

For what it's worth, I think the Dawgs will do better than 10th place. Sure, we lost Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson from last year's team, but the combination of Kenny Gaines, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris more than makes up for it. If we add a healthy Marcus Thornton to a more experienced KCP, Georgia should fight our way into the middle of the pack in the SEC. We should be better than Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, and Arkansas. If that's true, we're at 7th. If we perform well and get past Florida and a much-improved Auburn squad, then we're in the top 5 of the SEC.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dawgs Visit Coliseum, Conclude Italy Trip

The UGA basketball squad wrapped up their tour in Italy, visiting the Roman Coliseum and playing their final game of the trip.

Coliseum Visit and Victory Over All-Star Italy

Hard to get much in the way of specifics from the footage of the last game, but here are some of my general impressions:

1) has stepped up its game

Have to give the official site and the sports marketing department some props. is much improved. I wanted to see more video, but I was impressed that we had any in the first place. The music was a nice touch. Gave a real feel of Italy.

Would be good to have box scores posted, if they exist.

2) Player Development

Tim Dixon got a chance to play major minutes. I don't think he will challenge for a starting slot, but he'll be needed at some point during the season. I'd like to see him put on 10 more pounds this year, and 10 or more next year. With his frame, he can do it, and the added muscle will improve his game.

Houston Kessler hit a long-range jumper during the last game. He's bound for a red-shirt year, according to Fox. If he hits the weights and the track so that he can really run the floor, he can be a contributor.

Saw that Sherrard Brantley hit a three. Looked like his footwork has improved. Hope that Fox is really working with him so that Brantley will put the ball on the floor and drive effectively.

Can really tell the difference in philosophy in the games. Tennessee beat All-Star Italy by close to 50 points, if memory serves me. Best I can tell, though, they were playing their starters for a good portion of the game. Mark Fox focused more on building the skills and confidence of his bench.

3) Offensive Sets

Now that Fox has a deeper roster and more time for his team to learn and practice running the triangle offense, he has the opportunity to add in different concepts to the offense. I'd like to see him experiment with a dribble-drive element, ways to set up lobs to his leapers and big men, schemes to attack zone defenses, and the like.

In any case, the Italy trip was no doubt a fantastic educational and team-bonding experience. Hope it leads to a special year.