Thursday, January 29, 2015

Terrance Woodbury Interviewed

The Japan Times does an outstanding interview of Terrance.  Woodbury plays for the Shiga Lakestars and is their leading scorer (17.7 points per game).  I hope the Times keeps this article up for a long time.

The Times gives a brief recap of Woodbury's professional and collegiate careers, noting that Terrance played in the Swedish League (2010/11), went back to the Austin Toros D-League squad in 2011/12, moved to Japan in 2012/13 where he led the Ryukyu Golden Kings in scoring, and participated in the Brooklyn Nets mini-camp in June 2014.  The article adds that Woodbury increased his scoring every year at UGA, going from 5.6 points a game as a freshman in 2005 to 14 per game in 2008/2009.

Note:  For more information and background on Terrance (for example, his 30-point outburst at Rupp, being named MVP at Ryukyu, winning a championship with the D-League Toros, and more), just click on the blue hypertext below.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ten Reasons Georgia Basketball is Trending Up

Georgia basketball is trending up.  Here's why:

1.  Overall Win Record

Had a maddening overtime defeat to LSU, and I hate losing to Georgia Tech, but if we win at South Carolina, UGA will be 15 and 5, a very strong showing through the first 20 games.

2.  RPI

In the 20's according to the various sites.  Still plenty of ball to be played, but as for now, our schedule strength and win-loss record project that we should easily qualify for the NCAA tourney this year.

3.  Competitive in the SEC

Georgia is now 5 and 2 in the SEC, ranked 2nd place in the Conference.

We don't have a stable of big guys like Kentucky, but no one else in the country does.  Meanwhile, we match up pretty well with the rest of the teams in the SEC.

4.  Handling Adversity

Brandon Morris was arrested, then dismissed from the team before the season started. Kenny Gaines was sick when the year began, then injured shortly thereafter.  Kenny Paul Geno got injured and is likely lost for the year.  Cameron Forte got sick.  Marcus Thornton battled and overcame knee problems over the last couple of years.  Yante Maten got hit by a car.  Wow.

The team could have folded under pressure.  Instead, Fox has adjusted his rotation, and UGA has made it work.

5.  No new off-court issues

Sure, the guys aren't perfect, but the current squad has avoided the kinds of missteps that could distract from team performance and derail the season.

6.  Win Streak

Georgia has won 5 in a row with a winnable game at South Carolina up next.

7.  Balanced Scoring

The game at Mississippi State was an anomaly.  No one played well except J.J. Frazier (and he was exceptional).  The Vandy game was more typical.  Although Charles Mann did not have a good outing, everybody else played well enough, and the Dawgs got the win.

And that's the UGA recipe for success.  All five starters currently average double-figures in scoring.  Really helps UGA win a game when multiple guys can step up and get a bucket when we need it.  

8.  Free Throw Shooting

Georgia shoots a lot of free throws.  Part of that is because Charles Mann always attacks the rim.  Georgia attempted 25 foul shots against Vandy and made 23.  Now, we haven't been hitting that percentage (92%) every game, but if we keep going to the line and shooting a decent percentage, we can win more often than not.

9.  2015 Recruiting

We missed on some targets this year.  Malik Beasley, a two-guard out of Alpharetta, was supposedly going to commit. Instead went with Florida State.  High-scoring wing Tevin Mack was predicted to UGA by some web sites.  Ended up choosing VCU, if I remember correctly.  We didn't get Georgia high school big men Daniel Giddens or Doral Moore.

However, unlike previous years, when we didn't get our top level recruits, this time we came back and were able to get next tier guys that can definitely help right away.  Georgia signed Turtle Jackson, a big point guard who can score; Derek Ogbeide, an improving post with good athleticism; and E'Torrion Wilridge, an athletic 3/4.  If we keep winning, who's to say that we don't have a real shot at Jaylen Brown out at Wheeler High.

10.  2016 Recruiting

If Georgia gets a B or B- so far for 2015 recruiting, we're tracking A+ territory for 2016.  Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris committed early.  When was the last time that we got pledges from two key recruits almost a full two seasons early?

KCP committed early, but Fox wasn't able to turn that commitment into a magnet for other highly ranked players.  Felton recruited the dynamic duo of Lou Williams and Mike Mercer, but Williams never made it to campus, opting instead to go straight to the NBA.  As good as Williams and Mercer were, I like Crump and Harris better, because Mercer couldn't really shoot the ball.  Harris has Mercer-type athleticism, and he can flat out stroke it.

Fox will have to fight like crazy to keep them, but if he can, Crump and Harris may help UGA bring in a couple of posts.

Georgia basketball is trending up.  If we finish the SEC slate with a few victories and complete our recruiting 2015 and 2016 classes with a couple of studs, the bandwagon will be suddenly full.   Georgia fans who "always really loved basketball," but were waiting on the side of the road hoping that UGA would somehow get the program rolling in the right direction, might want to jump on now, buy tickets, and support the team.

Dawgs Beat Vandy

Final score, 70 to 62.

Didn't see the game, but I might try to watch the replay.  In any case, I like having J.J. Frazier starting and the move to put Mann at the 3.  Takes pressure off of Mann and gets another scorer on the court to begin the game.

Still worried about bench strength, but we seem to be managing with Yante Maten and Cameron Forte being the key subs, and Taylor Echols coming in for spot minutes.  Good game for Nemi, with 15 points and 9 boards.

Nice win last night.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Best Game Ever

for a UGA player.

I've been around Georgia basketball for a little while.  Won't say how long, but even my Blog will soon go into its 8th year.

I have never seen a performance like the one J.J. Frazier had on Saturday.  37 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists.  12 of 14 from the floor, 7 of 7 from behind the arc, and 6 of 8 from the line.  And he rebounded his own missed free throw late in the game.

Frazier reminded me of Chris Jackson from way back when, playing for LSU.  Jackson used to have incredible games, but his supporting cast, guys like Stanley Roberts and Shaquille O'Neal, was much better.  I'm not saying that Frazier will have the career that Jackson had, but Frazier was all money all game for UGA against Mississippi State.

Frazier's outburst also reminds me of Litterial Green.  Green had big scoring outings, too, back in the 90's.  People expected Green to score, though.  He was a highly recruited 2-guard from Mississippi.

Frazier's game was better than any of my memories of Green's exploits, in that nobody imagined Frazier would explode.  No one expected him to pull down 7 boards, either.

Besides that, Frazier runs the point.  He had responsibility for bringing up the ball against pressure.  He wasn't just floating around the perimeter, waiting for someone else to drive the ball and kick it out to him.

I'll leave it to the stats guys to see if anyone has gone shot the ball as efficiently as Frazier.  I doubt it.  Dustin Ware went bonkers back in 2010, hitting 7 three-pointers on 9 attempts.  I think that was the game at Tech.  Ware was certainly good that day, but Frazier was better.  The difference is that Ware scored 21 points for the entire game, meaning that the only points he scored were from behind the arc.  Ware didn't hit any two-point baskets, and never went to the foul line.

Bottom line is that Frazier gets my "best game ever" designation because he played way above his 5' 10", 150-pound stature.  He hardly missed a shot, hit big shots and got the key rebound, then iced the game at the free throw line.

When Frazier was recruited, I wondered how he would finish against bigger guys.  Well, if he can gun it from deep and throw in an occasional finger roll like he did Saturday, the big guards in the league are going to have their hands full.

Great game, J.J.  Best I remember.  Congratulations.