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March 10, 2012

Profiles in Hope: UGA Hoops 2012-2013

I want to share a statistic that I found surprising. Over the past 10 SEC games, Mark Fox's team is 5-5. Given the 1-7 start to the year, that's significant improvement. Was the team slow to start putting it together? Certainly, but they did find their legs later in the year.

The Dawgs had several solid RPI wins including:
  • Florida (H) - RPI 26
  • Notre Dame (N) - RPI 38
  • Miss State (A) - RPI 74
  • Miss State (N) - RPI 74
  • Tennessee (H) - RPI 85
  • S. Dakota St (H) - RPI 50 (although I feel dirty listing this one)
The reason the Dawgs won't be playing in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 tourney would be the debacles against South Carolina and Auburn. Some of that was a function of youth inside and some of it was a function of depth. The other reason would be the five games in which they scored less than 50 points.

The roster will be more athletic next year with the addition of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris. The interior will be stronger with the maturing of Donte Williams and Nemi. Florevous also has the physical capabilities to make a significant year over year jump as Donte did this year. That's the good news.

Will it be enough to make the NCAA Tourney? Not unless Tony Parker wants to hug his mother very, very badly. As Coach Fox told him, "You can't hug your mother through a phone."'s hoping for hugs.

I do see rays of hope / opportunities for improvement next year due to the way the roster improved during the year. The challenge for Fox...the team could improve considerably next year than the record without the record reflecting it. The team faces the following schedule:
    2 additional SEC games (Missouri and Texas A&M)
    2 games against Indiana, UCLA or G'town in Brooklyn
    1 Big East team on the road (SEC/Big East Challenge)
    1 game vs. GT on the road
    1 game vs. Southern Cal at home
That only leaves 7 tomato can games. When I was in school, Coach Durham would schedule 10-12 tomato cans a year.

On the bright side, it's a schedule that could put UGA into the NCAAs with as few as 18 wins. That would require UGA going 9-9 in a tougher SEC while sweeping the buy games and picking up 2 wins against that non-conference slate with USC, GT and UCLA being the best opportunities.

My overall feeling on the program is that Coach Fox is doing an average to above average job targeting the wings and guards for his style of play. Kentavious is as advertised, and Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines could both be underrated gems. The problem is his big man recruiting. He needs to onboard players who don't take 2-3 years to find their way in this league.

But I digress. Here's what I think it would take for the program to make a big leap forward beyond the obvious need to sign Tony Parker.
    1. John Florveous needs to make a gigantic Year 2 move up the depth chart. If he could make an improvement like Donte and Travis Leslie made in Year 2, we could move Donte Williams to PF which would elevate his game.

    2. Someone will have to step up at PG. I personally can't see it being Vinnie. So, this terrifies me for next year. If Charles Mann can be a 25+ minute per game stable solution at PG, I would feel much better about our chances.

    3. Either KCP will need to add 15 lbs of muscle or Brandon Morris will need to emerge at SF. If KCP were at SG, he would face much better matchups offensively and defensively next season. If he stays at SF, he's got to get stronger.
What are your thoughts?



Anonymous said...

My concern is our posts are going to take a big step back without Robinson and Ware providing support. They made defenses pay attention to them outside the three point line and produced more open layups and dunks than they will ever get credit for. We are bringing in one ball handler and no shooters so the lane is going to get packed and the open layups will dry up.

Our bigs improved as the season went on, but outside of Nemi no one showed an ability to make an offensive move without Gerald or Dustin setting them up or finding a tip dunk. I do not think the bigs will be able to carry the team and that leaves ours hopes with KCP and three unheralded freshmen. Not the spot I would prefer to be in.

Bernie said...

Vinnie handling the ball causes me to grip my glass too tightly.

Anonymous said...

Those weren't debacles at SC and AU. Just battles of the conference dregs and, in those cases, it usually comes down to home court advantage. We were underdogs in both of those and lost by a close margin in both. From an objective perspective, nothing unexpected occurred in either game.

Robinson really stepped up and carried this team late in the year. Without him, we might have won one conference game...I emphasize "might". For a team that struggled so mightily to find open looks xnd make shots, Gerald was the one guy on the team who could break a defense down and create for himself and others. Now, he is gone. The team finished in the bottom 15% of all D1 teams in scoring and FG%. I shudder to think what it will be like without Gerald. Still a long hard road ahead unless Fox recruits better. For the most part, he's trying to develop a roster full of projects outside of KCP at this point and that is no ones fault except Fox and his staff.

Jerry said...

Paul, What about Cannon? He showed signs of being able to play with the big boys. For some reason, did not play much even though he looked like a game player.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Jerry - RE: Cannon

His stat line that got everyone so excited against Vandy included 1 FG, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 rebounds in 11 minutes.

If that's what gets folks excited about his future, more power to 'em.

To his credit, he has never been credited with a turnover at UGA. And he's 8 of 9 on FTs.

Tyler Dawgden said...

RE: Cannon, though his stat line wasn't stellar (although extrapolating his stats, that is getting to the FT line 12-15 times a game), but UGA was plus 4 on points and his effectiveness was +30. For comparison sake, Donte had 12 minutes, 1 point, 1 reb. Georgia was -17 on points and his effectiveness rating was -12.

Mr. Sanchez said...

Paul, Cannon makes me think of Daniel Miller (oops Foxy), in that he has the requisite height and width to at least be effective. The question is how does he handle the speed of the game, and elite athletes. He'll probably never become an All SEC player, but he showed decent touch, and is tall. After all, if Robb Dryden can become an effective C, why not Cannon?

That said, I really wish he or Dixon would have redshirted to get that 5th year. If they were worthwhile signees (and if they weren't, why'd we sign them in the damned first place), then you'd rather have a 5th year than a first, and one could have easily taken the minimal minutes of the other this year.

I've got no faith in Florveus whatsoever. At his height, he gets hung on the rim, or hits the bottom of it? I'll stop to be nice, but yeah, no faith at all.

And to end this long rambling comment, I'm curious how Djurisic develops. He had his moments, and has a thick frame to compliment the thinner Donte. If Thornton can get healthy and improve his offense, a front line of Thornton, Djurisic, and Williams is intriguing, and it seemed like Fox was giving that trio a run later with some success.

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