Friday, November 25, 2016

Watched the game again

Boy, did we have our chances.  Missed free throws, errant passes, bad shots.

Well, our guards won't always play that poorly.  By the way, clarification from my last post.  Jordan Harris did not dribble the ball off his foot.  Diatta gave him a bounce pass at his feet.

All the same, to go into their home state and knock off a top-five team, we really needed clutch play from our perimeter guys.  We didn't get it.  Our guards shot 6 for 31 from the field, 16 percent from behind the arc, and had 9 turnovers against 5 assists.

Another scoring option off the bench sure would have been great to have.

That's one of the reasons why I felt we should have brought in Tookie Brown, the point guard from the Athens area, in 2015.  Sure, he's a sub-six-footer, and we already had J.J. Frazier.  However, when Mississippi State fired Rick Ray and Tookie Brown re-opened his recruitment, I thought sure Fox was going to jump on him right away.  Brown led his team to the state championship, was a 3,000 point scorer, and was available again.  However, Brown's major suitors at the time were Tennessee and Georgia State.

Brown ended up at Georgia Southern, where he has shown that he can create and score the basketball.  Although he didn't have his best shooting day, this week he put up 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, with 0 turnovers against Dennis Smith and the rest of the vaunted N.C. State backcourt.

Likewise, for the 2016 class, I wanted us to go hard after Athens area player, Kamar Baldwin.  Happy with Crump, especially if getting him brought us Jordan Harris, too.  However, if we passed on Baldwin, shame on us.

Butler is very happy with Baldwin.  Besides being an elite defender, Baldwin is shooting 65 percent from the floor on the year, and 55 percent from three.  Against Vanderbilt, he was 5 of 7 from the floor, and 2 of 3 from behind the arc.  Production like that would have won us the game against Kansas.

Hope we can pick up another guard in this recruiting class.  In the meantime, let's go out and beat Gardner Webb.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Legend of Yatta

Sundiata Gaines is back in the States after signing a D-League contract on November 12, 2016, with the Salt Lake Stars.  The Deseret News has a great story on Yatta, along with the legend he created in Utah by hitting the last-second 3-pointer to beat Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In case the Deseret News decides to remove the article later, here's the well written first paragraph:

"The shot had gone down, cream smooth and sugar sweet.  Sundiata Gaines was on his back looking up, first being mobbed by Jazz teammates, then leaping onto the scorer's table, arms extended.  Ronnie Price was gabbling to anyone who would listen, 'Now you know his name!'"

Although Lebron James wondered who was the point guard who summarily dispatched his team, Georgia fans certainly know about Gaines.  He was the heart and soul of the team during the Dennis Felton years, averaging 12 points, 6 boards, and 2 steals per game during his collegiate career (2004/5 to 2007/8).

For more info on Gaines, click on his name in the hyper-text below.

Almost There

Well, I've wanted Georgia to be able to compete against the "big boys", and we have the team to do it now.  Georgia gave Kansas a run, but we aren't quite there yet.  Dawgs lose by 11,  Final score, 65 to 54.

This game was right there for the taking.  Yante Maten played an incredible game.  He dominated their big men for 30 points and 13 rebounds.  Shot 11 for 23 from the floor, which isn't great, but it was more than enough.  He missed a few in the second half because the Kansas zone collapsed on him.

Meanwhile, their three big guys, Udoka Azubuike, Landon Lucas, and Dwight Coleby, went 1 for 2 from the field, for a combined two points and seven rebounds.

Georgia out-rebounded Kansas, 39 to 36.  We had their big guys in foul trouble all night.

Georgia would have won easily had we gotten any scoring from our 1, 2, and 3 positions.  Let's face it:  if J.J. Frazier goes 1 for 10 from the field, we're in trouble.

And tonight, no one else picked him up.  Juwan Parker shot 2 for 9.  He needs to change his release point and make it a split-second earlier.  Right now, he is trying to guide the ball in.

Jordan Harris was 1 for 4.  Tyree Crump was 0 for 1.  Turtle Jackson was 2 for 5, making two three-pointers.  However, Jackson shoots across his body, which results in some very bad misses.  I think on two of his shots, he didn't even hit the rim.

It's not even that their defense was that great.  We just couldn't put it in.  Our perimeter players went 6 for 31.  If our guards can't reach 20 percent shooting, we will lose a ton of games.

Jordan Harris played plenty of minutes.  I have argued for more playing time for him.  Well, in the key sequence of the game, Georgia was down 8 and we battled for an offensive rebound.  Jordan had the ball with a chance to reset the offense, and he dribbled the ball off his foot out of bounds.

As readers know, as a general rule, I don't criticize the players.  But Jordan can play better, and he has to get it done.  The game will slow down for him, and he will score a bunch of points for Georgia in his career.

Well, we played hard on defense, our zone was effective enough.  The good news is that J.J. won't always shoot poorly.  The other guards will have better games.

Georgia is improving.  We competed, and if we start getting complete games from our guards and bigs, we're going to make some noise.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Giving Credit

where credit is due.

I have written more than once about Coach Fox and his use of talent.  All too often we have had talented freshmen on the bench, when they could have done so much more on the floor.

I wanted, for example, Kenny Gaines to play with Kentavious.  Not back him up, but rather, be on the court at the same time--  go to a three-guard line-up to make the best use of the talent we had on hand.  I had hoped that Yante Maten would have gotten much more time as a freshman.  Sure, we had Marcus and Nemi, but I wanted Coach Fox to find a way to play all three at once, or at least sub Nemi out more often.

This year, I have argued that we have to have Jordan Harris on the floor.

Well, Coach Fox actually gave Jordan right at 15 minutes of playing time in the last game.  Although Coach cautioned that he did so because of match-ups, Jordan deserves minutes.  He can defend and score and take his man off the dribble, something we need in the absence of Charles Mann.

Just as I complain when talent remains on the bench, I will encourage when our line-ups make more sense.  I see the progress.  More of the same, please, with additional minutes for Tyree Crump.