Friday, December 30, 2016

Recruiting (Derrick Walker and Teshaun Hightower)

Teshaun Hightower and Derrick Walker are visiting Athens in January.

Hightower will come to Athens next week.  Georgia should have a good shot at securing Teshaun's commitment, since Hightower is from the Atlanta area and prior to his prep year at Mt. Zion, played high school ball at Collins Hill.  Our competition at this point is Middle Tennessee, La Salle, and Western Kentucky.

Walker will be on an unofficial on January 28th.  He was reported as having a final three of Tennessee, St. John's, and UGA.  Maybe Jonas and crew can get him committed.  Of the three finalists, Georgia may be the only school with definite scholarship room.  Besides, UGA is scheduled for his last visit, and Walker will have Yante Maten's big scoring outputs as examples.

Walker is a guy that could be a cross between Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, power forwards recruited back in the Dennis Felton era.  Derrick impresses me as someone who is not super-athletic, but has good hands, is a willing rebounder, and has developing post moves.  There's a lot to work with, and he could end up as being a skilled big like Yante Maten.

If Yante stays for his senior year, we could have a starting front court of Maten, Derek Ogbeide, and Rayshaun Hammonds.  The second unit front court would be Nicolas Claxton, Mike Edwards, and Derrick Walker.  That rotation would be fun to watch, and Coach Fox would be able to substitute to his heart's content without huge drop-offs in talent.

As for the back-court, Georgia is not in as good shape.  We will lose J.J. Frazier to graduation this year.  That's huge.  Frazier is our primary ball-handler and scoring guard.

So, we'd have Turtle Jackson and Jordan Harris as the likely starters at the point guard and shooting guard positions.  Fox won't be able to keep Tyree Crump on the bench next year.  Unless Turtle improves his shooting, we probably need Crump to improve his point guard skills so that Turtle can continue to come in as a back-up point guard.

I suppose Juwan Parker will stay for his second medical red-shirt year.  That makes four guards who can be counted on as a reasonable rotation.  Pape Diatta is more of a small forward, in my mind.  I am focused on guys who can be counted on to bring the ball up the floor.

Per the Prep Showcase article above, Teshaun Hightower sees himself as a big point guard.  One site has Hightower at 6' 4".  Although Prep Showcase says he's 6' 6", I think the shorter of the two measurements is closer to reality.  Either way, Georgia has recent history with a big point guard, Charles Mann, and that experience should be a selling point to Hightower.

Teshaun looks to have a pretty good handle and shoots the ball with confidence and arc.  Don't know if he could run the point guard at the college level, but I'm satisfied enough that he can contribute and a give us a fifth quality guard.  Hightower scored 31 against a pretty talented Norcross High team last year.

The good news is that Walker and Hightower are enough under the radar that Georgia can potentially sign them.  They would likely stay all four years, too.  Kind of guys we need.

Recruiting seems to be on an upswing.  Jordan Harris, Tyree Crump and Pape Diatta were good additions for 2016, and I like the addition of Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton, the two signees for next year.  Although Hammonds would be the only highly ranked guy, if we add Hightower and Walker, to Hammonds and Claxton, the 2017 class would arguably be the best ever for Coach Fox.

Let's get it done.

Georgia Beats Auburn (Seven Lessons Learned)

Great job by the Dawgs.

1.  Bruce Pearl ain't all that

Lots of people love Bruce Pearl, and think that he's a terrific coach.  If Georgia had lost the game, fans would have rushed to praise him.

Pearl has his merits, but he's not the kind of coach I would look for to coach up my team.  His system, drive and kick basketball on offense and the press on defense, works when he has the players.  He will eventually get players.  With that said, I wouldn't trade him for Fox.  He's just not the right guy.

2.  Maten and Frazier

Enough said.  When those two guys are on, Georgia is a tough out for anybody.  Tonight, they were definitely on.

3.  Use the Chuck Mann Strategy

Charles Mann used to keep Georgia in games by getting to the free throw line.  He wasn't a great foul shooter, however, and he sometimes had too many turnovers.

The point still remains.  Drive the ball to the basket and good things happen.  Maten, J.J. and Jordan were terrific.

4.  J.J. is one tough hombre

He got bowled over a couple of times tonight.  He got back up and finished the drill.  Plus, he had five steals.  His defense was the catalyst that led the Dawgs to victory.

5.  Juwan is knocking the rust off

Hit a couple of key baskets tonight.

6.  Supporting cast came up big

We were one point shy of having all of our starters score in double figures.  Derek Ogbeide scored nine for the game.  We had five guys shoot 50 percent or better from the field.

Proud of KPG and Kessler for hitting two key baskets.

Turtle was off for the game.  See point 3, above.  I have mentioned his shooting form before, so I won't post anything about it now.

Turtle will contribute for us in future games.  With that said, I'd love to see Tyree Crump get some minutes, just to see what he has.

7.  The zone and press are tools

We might not want to be Syracuse, constantly in the zone, or Arkansas, trying to press all game.  But these tools help us win.  Fox went into the shed tonight and brought out the right equipment.  He needs to do it more

Again, great game for the Dawgs.  May have to watch that one again.