Saturday, January 21, 2017

As Frustrated as I am,

Georgia could still go on a run.

Texas A&M Game Shows we need to Recruit another Guard

It was so obvious watching the Texas A&M game today that Jordan Harris is a small small forward, and Tyree Crump is a small shooting guard.  Maybe we can help both freshmen with their ball-handling skills over the summer, but for the present, at least, these guys aren't able to advance the ball against SEC-level defenses.

As it stands, we will have Turtle Jackson as our point guard next year.  I'm not convinced that Teshaun Hightower has point guard skills.

So, to keep UGA from losing every game next year to teams which press, we have to recruit someone like Isaiah Miller.  Better yet, find a way to bring in Avery Wilson as well.  He can probably get in to UGA as a student, so maybe we can ask him to come in as a preferred walk-on.

I like Derrick Walker, and would welcome him, especially if Yante Maten goes to the NBA, but since we only have so many scholarship spots, we just have to get a couple of unsigned guys who can handle the ball.

Disgraceful: Three Issues

Hard to understand being up 13 and then losing the game.  We're 12 and 7 now, and 4 and 3 in the SEC.  Team has a lot of good parts, but we're falling apart late in games and it's hard to make the Big Dance if we can't close these contests out.

I.  Turnovers

Way too many turnovers, especially within the last two minutes.

Jordan Harris, you have to be strong with the ball.  You're too good to have 6 or 7 turnovers in one game.  I know you're a freshman, but you're also a starter on a D-1 team.  You need to learn now.  If you drive the lane, wrap it up like a fullback until you're close enough to shoot.

J.J., you can't drive the ball to the hoop during the last 90 seconds of the game, leave your feet and throw it to their guys.  At least, try to make a shot.

If you make a key turnover, you have to put it behind you.  You can't let a pass bounce off your chest and fall out of bounds.

You are a tough competitor and the guy with the ball late.  You will most often be the hero or the goat in close games.  Well, with the point guard position comes point guard responsibilities.

I understand that the pressure is on.  That the press is on.  Not easy to perform when the crowd is against you and athletes are running at you.  We have to find a way.

II.  Coaching

Mark Fox:  Why play Kenny Paul Geno and not Turtle Jackson?  Turtle Jackson was actually shooting well this game.  I know we had guys go out with fouls, but we needed another ball handler desperately.

It's not like KPG was an incredible defender down there.  He hustles for rebounds, and can sometimes take a charge.  But against the press, he sets a screen and then floats around, of zero help getting the ball over the time line.  Good Dawg, but it's not his skill set to break the press.

I also disagree with Yante Maten taking the ball out of bounds.  Since they were letting us throw the ball into the corner, we didn't need Maten to see over the defense.  We needed him in the middle to be an outlet.  If you insist on playing KPG, let him take the ball out.

III.  Timekeeper

Home-cooking timekeeper and refs:  You are disgraceful.

We should have won the game.  Bad coaching was part of the issue, but the last play was so weird and the clock error so egregious that the SEC simply has to step in.  In that kind of situation, the solution is to play the last 5.6 seconds again.  Otherwise, unscrupulous time-keepers will cheat to the visiting team's disadvantage.

Friday, January 20, 2017


Disappointed to see the end of GeorgiaBasketballBlog.  I thought that HeckwithTech was doing a fantastic job.

I disagreed with a lot of his conclusions (and was annoyed by some of the ads), but you couldn't deny the amount of work that Heck put into  the articles.  Pictures, in depth research, explanation of offensive schemes, etc.  Good stuff.

The truth still remains that there aren't a lot of sites out there that focus on Georgia basketball.  The free ones you can count on one hand.  Maybe someone bought Heck out or hired him away.

Perhaps Heck just got tired.  It is a lot of work.

In any case, I would love to see Heck's site come back.  Since someone is squatting on the GeorgiaBasketballBlog name, Heck would have to reestablish his brand.

If, on the other hand, 2017 was the end of the road for Heck's blog, then hoops fans owe him our appreciation for helping keep interest up in the program.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

M.J. Walker

I would love to see Georgia make up ground on M.J. Walker, the recruit from Jonesboro who was recently named a McDonald's All-American.

The attached article indicates that Maryland, Ohio State and Florida State are recruiting M.J. the hardest.  I have no clue why UGA hasn't been in the conversation up to this point.  Best I can tell, we haven't even offered the guy.  Sure, we can target everybody, but it doesn't cost Georgia anything to extend an offer.

One would think that UGA would be all over Walker.  M.J. is a 5-star recruit, ranked #20 in the country, and an all-around complete player.  He has elite athleticism, pretty consistent jumper, shoots a floater going to the rim, and uses those tools to average 30 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Some guys shy away from contact and therefore rarely get fouled.  Not so with M.J.  He's an ex-football player who enjoys driving the ball to the bucket.  In other words, Walker is the kind of player who fits the Mark Fox strategy of beating teams through being fundamentally sound and shooting more free throws than the opponent.

From all indications, Walker's a great family kid, too.  What's not to like?   His mother wants M.J. to stay close to home.  That sounds like an open door for Coach Jonas Hayes.

Walker says he'll likely commit later in the year, so there's still time for Georgia to get in the mix.

Teshaun Hightower to the Dawgs (plus recruiting update)

Welcome, Teshaun!

Solid pick-up.  Good shooter.   Will defend and fit in the well with the guys on the roster.

I've posted about Hightower recently, so it's time now to take a look at how the 2017 class is shaping up overall.

Four current players, J.J. Frazier, Kenny Paul Geno, Houston Kessler and Brandon Young, are graduating.  UGA has signatures from Rayshaun Hammonds and Nic Claxton, and now, a pledge from Teshaun Hightower.

Kessler, Geno and Young have been good Dawgs, but admittedly, they really aren't offensive threats, probably averaging four points a game between the three of them.  J.J. Frazier is another matter.  He's our primary ball handler, best free throw shooter and second leading scorer. Losing J.J. will hurt. Can't be helped though.  Guys graduate.

The issue for a college coach is whether he can upgrade his roster with the next signing class.

It's hard to argue that with the latest recruits Coach Fox is on track to do just that.  But can he really put recruiting over the top with his last spot?

Derrick Walker, the power forward from Kansas, will be on an unofficial visit on January 28th.  If he commits, that would give Georgia six bigs, two small forwards, and five guards.  Walker is also considering St. Johns and Tennessee, so if he ends up choosing one of his other suitors, we need to swiftly shift focus to a small forward or another athletic guard.

Besides Walker, there are other good possibilities out there who have gone overlooked.  Isaiah Banks, the rim-wrecking 6' 5" guard/small forward, only has one D-1 offer, last I checked.

Avery Wilson is an available true scoring point guard, able to help break the press and also convert from long range.  Wilson, who has a little bit of J.J. Frazier in his game, is averaging 29 points a game for his Forest Park squad.

And then there is Isaiah Miller, the high-flying combo guard from just east of Atlanta.  The video speaks for itself.

Of course, if we have a transfer, or Yante Maten decides to forego his senior season, then Georgia would have two more spots open, and we'd really need to close the class on an upward swing.

Stay tuned, folks.