In Coach Fox's first season, the team's record was 14-17 overall and 5-11 in the SEC. In his second season, we improved to 21-12 overall with a 9-7 SEC record. By any definition, that's tremendous improvement. The kind of improvement that warrants pay increases and contract extensions. The kind of improvement that should facilitate more high profile recruits selecting Georgia.
However, everything isn't sunshine and lollipops.
In Fox's first season, UGA lost 8 of those 17 games in the final two minutes. The reasons for those losses included lack of depth, athleticism in the back court, experience, mental toughness, etc. In fact, Coach Fox said last year that having Gerald Robinson on that team would've resulted in 6-7 more wins. It's tough to argue with his logic given that the team improved by exactly 7 wins this year.
However, we did lose 8 games again this year where we had a legit chance to win in the final 2 minutes. This year, it wasn't about athleticism in the back court. It was a parade of different issues resulting in a series of car crash like final moments.
Regardless, a major point of emphasis for the program going forward has to be avoiding what looks an ABC After School Special on the Dangers of Sugar Crashed Bed Wettings. Some of this will be resolved with recruiting more natural leaders as well as more talented kids overall. But whatever it is...it has to be fixed.
The good news again...we won 50% more games than last year with the addition of only two more players of note in Robinson and Thornton.
The bad news...we're likely losing Trey, Travis, Jeremy and Barnes off a team who's bench only contributed to 14 percent of the points and who finished 281st in the country in bench minutes played. The rest of the bad news...Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is only one kid.
Fox can and should build on this moment. He just has to close the door on more recruits and find a way to toughen up the ones we have next year...both mentally and physically. We have to walk through the door.
I'm optimistic for the future, but I'll be much more optimistic if we close guys like Evan Nolte, Jordan Price, Jordan Adams, Jarmal Reid, Tony Parker, Shaq Goodwin, etc for the 2012 recruting class. We'll have much more visibility into that process over the next 4-6 months.